Chris Sacca: Bad environment for seed-stage investors

Jul 08, 2011

Dan Primack was a senior editor at Fortune from 2010 to 2016. He was also the author of Term Sheet, Fortune's daily newsletter about deals and dealmakers.

Chris Sacca is one of Silicon Valley's original "super-angels," investing early in such companies as Twitter, Bit.ly, Formspring and Instagram.

But Sacca seems to have grown wary of most seed-stage opportunities, according to a recent interview conducted by Digg and Milk founder Kevin Rose. We reported last year that Lowercase had expanded into secondary and growth-stage transactions, but not that the firm had pared back its early-stage efforts. Here is what Sacca told Rose:

"I am still doing some startup investing. Not as much. I think the market got ahead of itself… There’s a certain entitlement among a lot of founders that stuff that hasn’t even been built yet or hasn’t been launched or have any users is worth double-digit millions of dollars right up front. And they’ve pushed so hard on terms that while it’s a great environment to be an entrepreneurs it’s not a great environment to be a seed-stage investor and so I really pared back.

There are key investments I’d never not do. I’m a key investor in Milk. I’d never not do that deal. If Evan Williams ever started something new, I would write him a blank check. Even after I pared back on my investment the Instagram buys came along and have me an opportunity to invest in that company and that was just a no-brainer…

So I’ve reserved money for really key seed deals. So Turntable is an example of that right now. I’d be freaked out if I didn’t have any money to participate in a turntable offering… But generally I’m not going and doing a broad basket of startups the way I used to."

You can watch the entire video below. The discussion of Sacca's current investment strategy begins at the 41 minute mark (after which he notes some big companies he passed on):

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