Atlas Ventures’ Fred Destin Believes Funding Seed Stage Companies Is Like Falling In Love

One of the best moments at our TC Boston Meetup + Pitch-off was an on-stage interview with Atlas Ventures’ Fred Destin, a Belgium native now living in Boston and investing in super early stage startups.

To Destin, investing in an early stage company is never about the mathematics of the business model or any quantifiable prediction of success, but rather like falling in love.

“Within three minutes I know if I want to fund you, and within ten minutes I’ll know if I want to fund your business,” said Destin. “It’s like falling in love, and if you’re good at what you do, you spend some time rationalizing yourself back down to a more logical state where you aren’t acting on impulse.”

We discussed the advantages and challenges that befall startups in Boston, and Destin explained that Boston is one of the few startup ecosystems with any true diversity. With schools like MIT and Harvard next door, Boston is a great place to find experts in robotics, engineering, machine learning, and ecommerce.

“When you can mix different types of expertise, that’s when interesting things start to happen,” said Destin.

Plus, Boston entrepreneurs will be able to tap into this talent pool for less cash up front and, in return, employ a more loyal worker for a longer period of time.

The biggest problem Boston startups have, says Destin, is modesty, and looking into the past. Boston entrepreneurs are never as bold about sharing their work, or being proud of it, as some SV startups, and are punished because of it.

Instead of focusing on revenue too early, or perfecting something before showing it off, Destin encourages startups in Boston to simply go for it, because the ecosystem is ready.