Hunter Walk: Damn the TAM and other seed startup thoughts

Hunter Walk thinks your TAM slide is stupid.

That’s one viewpoint that the seed-stage investor shared with TechCrunch that made us laugh during our recent conversation. Walk joined us for an Extra Crunch Live chat late last week that was a mix of advice and insight about what the seed-stage Homebrew partner looks for in founders and companies to invest in.

In the case of founders, “attitude matters as much as aptitude sometimes,” Walk said, adding that “grit” and “resilience” are things he favors in entrepreneurs. Why do those qualities matter? Walk cited the Mike Tyson quip about everyone having a plan until they get punched in the face, saying that “building an early-stage startup, you get punched in the face almost daily.”

Form one line, folks considering building a new company.

We also dug into fintech, where Walk and his Homebrew partner Satya Patel have made a number of investments that have turned out well, including Plaid, Finix, Chime and so on. According to Walk, his firm has made investments into the startup category across funds because it felt that two things were going to happen. First, that “a lot of data that had been siloed and unavailable was going to become available,” citing Plaid as an example of the trend.

Second, that the top-down model of building tooling that made chiefs happier than front-line workers was going to flip in the financial world. New software was going to look quite different and focus on the individuals’ needs. Chime, the American neobank, was his example of this trend bearing out in the market.

We’ve excerpted a number of key moments and have embedded the session’s full audio and video below. Enjoy, and if you aren’t an Extra Crunch member, you can get an inexpensive trial here.

All in all it was a lively chat and a good time. We ran a bit short on time but did squeeze in a good number of audience questions, so a big thanks to everyone who turned out live for the show and took part.