Frequently Asked Questions
We are a small group striving to work as hard as the founders we support. We each have a chip on our shoulder for one reason or another, and it’s part of why we’re so driven. We have also been told that it's evident in the level of enthusiasm, preparation, and tenacity that we bring to each meeting, challenge, and opportunity. We worked so hard to get where we are today both as individuals and as a team, but we still want to go so much further.
Despite our ambition, we remain acutely aware that the real work is building, not backing. This is why we live to support and not shine; you and your team deserve the credit for your successes. Our only job is to support and amplify your success by giving you our capital, time, networks, energy, and experience. Since founders are our heroes and we want to work at Crossbeam forever, we make your problems our problems, we obsess over the details and the extra mile, and we do what we say we will.
Every VC firm brags about how much they help companies once invested, but the best thing to do is to talk with our founders and see if we’ve been useful. Our most important job is to help founders understand what they need to achieve between now and their next round of funding. This is how we base our advice around budgeting, hiring, and strategic planning. Sometimes, we help with high level advice, and sometimes we get in the mud (helping with tactical items, locking in a customer, or doing a cap table restructuring to create better alignment for founders). There are founders we speak with daily and others we speak with less frequently; in either case, it’s your vision, and we feel fortunate to support it. We’ll spend a lot of time trying to anticipate your needs and laying the groundwork to address them, but we’ll also spend as much time listening to you as you’ll let us.
Aside from more traditional VC functions, Crossbeam is able to provide founders with unique capital and distribution, regulatory support, and operational experience. Two of our founding partners, Moelis Asset Management and CoVenture, allow us to leverage our networks to reach unique distribution channels and the far-reaching corners of capital markets. Moreover, our co-founder Fenway Summer gives us a deep understanding of the regulatory complexity and hard to understand frameworks in financial services. Finally, as our team is comprised of entrepreneurs, we understand how to partner, empathize, and work with founders as if we were in the trenches together. If you ask any of us for the craziest thing we’ve done for a founder, you will get a big smile and a great story.
When we meet with a company, we ask ourselves: “what would we need to believe for this company to be a success?” Some of the hardest passes are when we come up with a list of ~10-20 things that would need to happen, all of which we have 90% confidence around. 90%^20 is a very small likelihood of success. Consequently, a lot of our diligence centers around trying to understand why we should feel 97-99% positive about most of those 20 risks.
We want to make sure the companies we’re backing will be huge if they actually work. Startups are risky, and so when they work the payoff needs to be big enough. We look for founders who have a lot of stamina, who are hard to offend, who are not dogmatic about their ideas and who are able to move fast. Nothing gets us more excited than a founder who achieves some milestone or makes progress during our diligence process.
We are high conviction investors. We don’t approve deals in 24 hours before we “love the founder and love the market.” We have to love both, but we try to take enough time to be sure. For some founders that works, for others that doesn’t. We don’t have a lot of FOMO; we need to build high conviction before we make an investment, and don’t mind missing deals if there’s not an opportunity to do so.
While there are typical characteristics of Crossbeam investments, these should be thought of more as averages rather than parameters. For example, we have invested in many FinTech businesses because our experience in that industry often enables us to gain conviction more quickly than in industries where we are less experienced. The further we stray from a given typical characteristic, the more important the rest become to us.
Additionally, we’re looking for true partnerships. We want to work with founders who have high integrity, and want to succeed as a group, not on their own. Finally, it’s important we share the same vision as a founder. We’ve never succeeded by trying to convince a founder that our vision should be theirs.
Stage: We invest most frequently at the seed stage.
Size: Typical, initial Crossbeam investments range from $500K to $3M.
Target Ownership: While we do not have a specific ownership target, we have led or co-led roughly half of the initial investments made by Fund I and Fund II.
Sectors, Themes, and Theses: We are generalists, but, historically, we have gravitated towards businesses touching FinTech, Internet Platform Economies, New Forms of Employment, Media, and/or Novel Asset Classes. We also often invest in businesses which need other sources of capital beyond venture dollars. However, we are open minded to what spaces founders are building in; any idea might lead us to our next thesis.
Geography: Most companies that we invest in are based in the U.S., but we have occasionally backed companies in Mexico, South America, Asia, and Europe.
Disclaimer: May not be applicable to all investments
Historically, we have backed between 1 and 2 startups per month, but we do not target a specific cadence, schedule, or pace of deployment.
Crossbeam Venture Partners Fund I and Fund II have both made follow-on investments into certain portfolio companies. Outside of the funds, we have raised several SPVs to invest additional capital in some of these companies. In total, we have raised more than $170M of follow-on co-investment into portfolio companies since we began deploying Fund I in March 2020.
The most effective way to contact us is to be referred by someone we know and trust. However, we review all investment opportunities we receive, so feel free to reach out to us directly. To stay up-to-date with the latest on us and the companies we support, visit our media and portfolio pages.