In our first written series of Meet the VC, we spoke with Alice Cheng an…
Meet the VC: Eric Bahn of Hustle Fund
Our second segment of Meet the VC, we spoke with Eric Bahn of Hustle Fund. The conversation was nothing less than captivating as Eric, a venture capitalist based in the Bay Area, sat in his garage which was perfectly set up for a professional podcast production wearing a hoodie. The former founder went from creating startups to investing, because of the many frustrations he had trying to raise money. His guidance on what founders should be doing now during a pandemic and how he likes to invest in a team that doesn’t necessarily look like him gave a bit more confidence in such uncertain times. You can find the full video interview here.
Bahn was previously a Venture Partner for 500 Startups, and worked at Facebook as a Product Manager. He currently is an advisor for Venture for America which is a fellowship program for recent grads who want to become entrepreneurs and startup leaders.
Early Growth: What did you do before becoming a VC? And what led you to be on that side of the table?
Eric Bahn: I was a founder and product manager for 15 years. I was compelled to start a VC primarily out of frustration I’ve had with VCs: asymmetry of power; implicit bias; judging on wrong things — all made me want to try to create a new fund to fix these broken areas of founder assessment.
EG: You’ve looked at lots of decks and have heard tons of pitches. Thinking about the ones that stood out, how would you advise entrepreneurs to create a memorable deck and email pitch that may lead to a meeting with you?
Eric: Very tight storytelling that hits five key pillars is the key. Be sure to touch on: team, problem, solution, market, and traction.
EG: How do you/the firm make decisions on investing in a company?
Eric: It’s really strange. We believe in deferring our due diligence until after writing the first check.
EG: What’s the first thing you would want a founder to do after closing their round?
Eric: Take your partner/spouse to dinner.
EG: How do you work with companies that you invest in?
Eric: Heavy emphasis on growth projects and fundraising help.
EG: What will entrepreneurs like least about your evaluation and/or due diligence process?
Eric: It’s definitely not for everyone. For those who just want capital and nothing else, we’re too weird.
EG: I just raised a round of funding for a business that you would be an ideal investor for in the next round… Looking back at your best and worst investments, what’s the one thing you would advise me to do over the course of the next 12-18 months to get you on the team?
Eric: Speak with me.
EG: Is there any uncommon piece of advice you would like to give entrepreneurs?
Eric: Don’t raise from venture unless it’s absolutely necessary.
About Early Growth
For over 10 years, Early Growth has provided early-stage companies CFO Consulting Services, Accounting for Startups, Taxes, and 409a Valuation. We saw a need in the marketplace for a service that would allow founders to still focus on business while building a healthy financial story. Our Outsourced CFO, Outsourced Accounting, and R&D Credits services have helped many companies grow.