Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
First, we invest once we’ve helped a startup win a big customer. We never lead with the “we want to invest” meeting. That big customer is usually one or more of the global corporations among our LPs to which we have unparalleled access. These large multinational corporations have global operations in 35 countries with 250 manufacturing plants, 220,000 employees and over 20,000 vehicles.
Second, the startups we seek to work with must be building a technology or service that can be leveraged by our corporate investors in the form of a sustainable, competitive advantage. We seek to syndicate deals with top tier VCs with whom we can team up and bring our unique value proposition in addition to the unique value they bring. The right investment syndicate is critical to us.
When a startup wins a customer that unleashes increased valuation for itself and all the shareholders it also simultaneously creates shareholder value in our corporate investors. We’re optimistic that formula leads to outsized venture returns.
Where did your firm’s name come from?
We were originally known as Bridge 37 Ventures. Our LPs include a handful of multinational corporations doing business in 35 countries and financial investors whose wealth was created by global industrialists. At our founding we counted 36 significantly relevant physical bridges in the world that provided passage over seemingly unbreachable obstacles. Bridge 37 was the 37th – a bridge of capital overcoming the obstacle of a great startup team exchanging their innovation for the scale available in global enterprises. After a time, we simplified the name to “B37” Ventures as we came to identify ourselves around our brand and image.
What defines your portfolio?
Very simply put, we achieve measurable outcomes.
For the startups in our portfolio we assist in getting their first, or among their first customers, and then expansion and traction. Often this directly informs the startup’s sales process so that it is better in the future and more effective with more customers.
For our corporate LPs we increase their shareholder value. The results are confidential, however impressive in their value.
For our co-investors we aid in unleashing increased startup valuation.
For B37 Ventures our startup growth, traction, and valuation informs our capital allocation.
As I mentioned earlier, we have engineered a platform that harnesses and creates a scalable network of users and resources in dynamic motion.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
In two words, more talent! And talent is embodied in the optimistic, smart, energetic, enthusiastic people on the B37 team.
Each colleague working in B37 becomes a key enabler of sustained value creation for every stakeholder: the startup, the startup’s customer, co-investors, and B37 itself.
We envision each hire being on a “Partner track”, no matter the position they start in.
Why is your firm a part of NVCA?
There are a few reasons we joined NVCA, the most important being a desire to become a part of the conversation in shaping the future of venture capital particularly with emerging and micro VC fund managers. As B37 grows it’s assets under management we want to be sure we return the incredible collaboration we’ve enjoyed and sought to earn with premier investors along the way.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.
We are based in San Francisco but our portfolio is global. Silicon Valley’s unique blend of talent, network and risk taking will continue to be a driving force in innovation at a global scale. However, as the pace of remote collaboration accelerates, we’ll see more great investment opportunities being geographically dispersed.
The current landscape continues to be increasingly competitive. COVID-19 and the global implications did shift many of the dynamics that we saw during the 11-year bull market. Nonetheless, the best teams and the best technologies continue to drive highly competed financing rounds. One trend that is fundamental to us (which is not new, but we see accelerating given the current macro conditions) is how critical it is for startups to scale internationally sooner in their life stage. Competition is becoming more geographically dispersed, so building competitive advantages and barriers of entry at a global scale remains an imperative for successful startups.
We are also seeing funds doubling down on portfolio companies that are COVID-19 resilient and startups finding new GTM and monetization models that rely on new paradigms. For us, this means enabling our portfolio and pipeline startups to find creative ways to deploy remotely and adapt to different use cases as quickly and effectively as possible.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2020?
Our portfolio has increased their operations to 24 countries now and there has been double-digit million dollars achieved as sales for our portfolio companies or savings/new revenue sources for our corporate investors. Also, we’re in the middle of raising our second fund and are fortunate to count our existing investor base as part of the first close to be held in the coming months.
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less.
Trusted, Professional, Optimistic, Savvy, Adventurous!
Cassie Ann Hodges serves as Director of Communications at NVCA where she leads NVCA’s strategic communications, branding and content development, and media efforts to better support and empower the venture community, startups, and entrepreneurs. She also oversees the NVCA StratComm Peer Group network and programming.