Member Spotlight: Transform VC

For this deep dive, we spoke to Raed Masri, Partner at Transform VC.

Raed A. Masri, Partner at Transform VC

Tell us about your firm.  What makes it different:

We are Transform VC, we invest in deep tech and network effects applied to social and climate challenges. We pay special attention to underrepresented talent to help create category queens and kings with technology. Our founders have a significant triple bottom line positive impact (people, planet, profit).

Our investments focus on the USA and Canada geographically.

We recently launched, Impact A Billion initiative, roadshow, and online community news and hub. This idea was incubated by Rama Chakaki and Raed Masri in 2022. We believe Silicon Valley is insular, and consequently, we are bringing Silicon Valley to the inner cities of the US to identify underrepresented talent that we can help to crack Silicon Valley in weeks instead of in years on their own. 

Some of the cities visited include New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Greensboro, and Washington D.C., with many more to come. To date, we have been joined by 80+ organizations and over 2000 individuals, spawning a growing community of impact investors, tech founders, and ecosystem partners.  Impact a Billion has had a direct positive result bringing diversity into our fellowship program, impact into our pipeline, and growth of impact investors in our LP community. 

What defines your portfolio?

We deeply understand the psychology and struggle that founders endure and because of this we have a natural intellectual and emotional connection with the best founders. This leads to developing deep & early convictions in founders that are dismissed by others because markets are perceived as difficult or too early. Through Transform VC or our Partner’s previous investment firms, we are proud supporters of these companies who are striving to impact a billion people directly or indirectly.

We look for startups that are highly defensible through either:

  1. Deep technology moats and/or
  2. Strong network effects
  3. 10x advantage over the next best thing

On the impact front, we look for:

  1. Overlooked founder categories. 
  2. Startups hiring from overlooked / underserved communities.
  3. Business models that support or serve vulnerable populations.

Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.

We believe Silicon Valley is the best place in the world to start a startup, and we are based in Silicon Valley. However, we see that impact is largely considered an afterthought.

We ask our founder to commit to reporting a single impact metric from day one! Even if said metric is zero for a while, our founders track with intent to improve over time.

Through the Impact a Billion roadshow and initiative, we bring Silicon Valley to the inner cities of America, to identify underrepresented talent, and bring the rigor of the valley to them so they could each impact a billion and make a billion.

What are the benefits of being an NVCA member?

Becoming a member of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) offers numerous advantages for our VC fund across various crucial aspects of the venture industry. These encompass active participation in policy-shaping working groups, exclusive community engagement opportunities, access to discounted and partner events, insights into U.S. VC trends, special deals with Preferred Providers, increased firm exposure, exclusive newsletters, and leadership opportunities.

Specifically, the NVCA membership provides thought leadership and speaking opportunities at hosted programs, enabling our fund to showcase expertise and insights. And also, identifying partners who will join us on the “impact a billion” journey. It is a movement beyond Transform VC and we would like to see more VCs engage with us on building it.

In summary, the all-encompassing benefits provided by NVCA empower our fund in policy influence, community engagement, event access, insights and publications, preferred provider deals, firm exposure, information access, and leadership opportunities, contributing significantly to success across key areas in the venture industry.

What’s ahead for your firm in 2024?  

We are working on raising the second fund, which currently enjoys a 3x TVPI, which means new LPs invest 1x and enjoy a 3x at cost without catch-up interest.