Today my guest is Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and General Partner at Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund for software entrepreneurs. Previously, Elizabeth was a partner at 500 Startups where she invested in seed-stage companies and ran the Mountain View acceleration program.
Prior to that, after leaving Google, Elizabeth co-founded and ran an ad tech company called LaunchBit, which was acquired in 2014 by BySellAds. Elizabeth has a BSEE from Stanford and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
Elizabeth has reviewed over 20k startup pitches from around the world in the last few years and has helped numerous portfolio founders raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Her work and writing on startup fundraising have been featured in numerous publications including TechCrunch, Forbes, Huffington Post, BetaKit, and more.
Welcome Elizabeth to the Inevitable Podcast!
Here are the main topics from today's conversation:
- Elizabeth's experience growing up in Silicon Valley and her first contact with the "startup world" helping her best friend's cousin: Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos. She also shares how Tony inspired her and those around him;
- How her time at Google teached her about politics at big techs and inspired her to become a founder at LaunchBit. And also, is this the path for most engineers at big tech?;
- Yin's journey on founding her own startup prior to the Lean Startup movement (without knowing how to raise money or even market a product), how learning from mistakes was a key part of that process, and the details around the exit;
- The path to the VC world (something she didn't expected) as a result of being a builder and wanting to find a bigger purpose, and also her vision on the acceleration scene for startups;
- What investor should look for on founders (and why most VCs get it wrong) and how investor can really be helpful and relevant for startups;
- The story behind fundraising for Hustle Fund VC and why it's a full-time job for the founders (no side projects here);
- Money is a commodity. Why should a founder looking to raise funds work with you? Elizabeth shares her unique view on that;
- And why we need to look beyond unconscious biases when analysing businesses and founders looking for investment.