Running a great company is a lot different than starting one, and some lessons can only be learned from experience. If you’re a founder, you could stumble by yourself until you figure it out. Or you could call Greylock. By stacking its partner ranks with veteran operators, the firm has made a name for itself over almost 50 years, and today announces its $1 billion 14th fund.
Partner and board member extraordinaire David Sze tells me this fund comes from Greylock’s “most prestigious set of LPs yet”, and also features the smallest number of total LPs yet thanks to long relationships with some of the world’s top endowments. On-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, Sze told the crowd how he’s excited to run Greylock first fund since it moved entirely to the west coast.
The $1 billion fund will focus on early stage startups like its last fund where 120 of the 140 or so investments were in seed or A rounds. Still, Greylock will consider some Series B rounds and “invest selectively” in late-stage growth rounds. Sze said on stage that Greylock has invested about half of its $1 billion 13th fund that closed in 2011. You can watch the video of the Greylock guys chatting with Michael Arrington below.
Partner and LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman tells me that Greylock identity stems from a team of “product oriented folks who have been company builders themselves.” Sze told Michael Arrington on stage that Greylock seeks partners with a combination of “analytics and instinct” that can continue its tradition of seeing gold where others see garbage, like with Airbnb. Those ideals are embodied by several new partners who’ve come aboard since it’s last fund including John Lilly, Josh Elman, and Simon Rothman on the consumer side; Joseph Ansanelli and Jerry Chen on the enterprise side; and operators Jeff Markowitz, Dan Portillo, and Tom Frangione.
Together, they’ll be looking for startups that espouse two huge trends in technology startups:
- The Many Any’s - An anywhere, anytime, anyhow Internet is emerging thanks to mobile devices and innovative marketplaces. Suddenly, you can get on-demand taxis, places to sleep, and professional services from wherever you are. The rise of the “Many Any” startups is partly why Greylock has pledged to invest $100 million in new marketplaces.
- The Enterprise Cloud - “Companies and their employees will no longer need to be a slave to technology. Instead, they will have tech serve them” thanks to the cloud, writes Sze. He tells me there is $140 billion of IT spend up for grabs, and Greylock is looking for companies building enterprise products with a great user experience and that explore new bottom up distribution models along with traditional sales.
In exchange for equity, Sze and Hoffman told me backstage that startups don’t just get money, they get foresight and know-how. How do you know when to raise your hiring standards or fire someone? How do you juice your consumer startup’s virality or build an enterprise sales team? Greylock is designed to answer these questions and spot pitfalls to keep their portfolio companies growing.
Sze and Hoffman admits that there’s a need for venture firms to offer executive recruiting, design assistance, and other specific services but it’s help navigating the day-to-day that makes Greylock special. Sze concludes that for entrepreneurs, Greylock is an ally beause “it’s a really lonely journey. If you can go there with people who have perspective that can make the tough decisions on what excellence is but also have the humility to know it’s really your journey, then that’s a good combination.”
Want more insight from Sze and Hoffman? Check out my backstage interview with them below: