Chris Douvos runs a fund of funds called Ahoy Capital that manages assets on behalf of numerous nonprofit institutions, endowments and foundations throughout the U.S.
Outfits that want exposure to startups — but aren’t large enough to contemplate funding them directly — count on Ahoy and funds like it to invest in venture firms on their behalf.
Douvos has been at it for nearly 20 years, having joined Princeton University’s endowment in 2001 out of business school and investing on behalf of several organizations since, always focusing on venture. Given his background, we suspected he might have some thoughts about what a pullback in funding from big institutions might mean for the venture industry, so we called him up last week.
You can catch a longer version of our chat in podcast form, but you’ll find the most valuable highlights below, edited for length.
TechCrunch: You’ve talked and blogged in the distant past about passing on investing in the Accel fund that ultimately invested in Facebook. What happened?
Chris Douvos: I said no to probably one of the better funds of that decade not once but twice . . . [If you] rewind to 2004, you know, we’re there at Princeton, we’re existing investors. And Accel is coming back [for more capital commitments]. And we were really kind of rethinking our portfolio a little bit because most long-established names had stumbled [after the dot-com crash] . . . and there was a lot of tumult in the portfolio . . . and venture returns [had] just been so grim.