After ~1 year at Cowboy focused entirely on seed, my frameworks for investing at this stage have changed.

Still (and forever) learning, but sharing my current thoughts on seed investing ✍️
1/ Founder > market

Investing at seed often means investing when the market opportunity/size isn’t clear. I believe it’s more important to invest in amazing founders than amazing market opportunities*.

*network effects businesses excluded
2/ Partner w/ "Learning Animals"

I picked this one up from the queen of coining new terms @aileenlee. Founders with a growth mindset can adapt to changing market dynamics & develop into successful leaders at different stages of growth.
3/ Build for tomorrow

Founders at seed are building for tomorrow's world, not today's. They need foresight grounded in a deep understanding of the tech & market forces driving change.

This is framed very well by @m2jr in his piece on "Backcasting".…
4/ Diligence should not convince you to make an investment

Using diligence to move from "no" to "yes" is dangerous. It can result in projecting a vision on founders that isn't theirs.

S/o to @twang for keeping me honest on this point.
5/ Why (this founder) now?

I used to obsess over “why now” but have edited that to “why this founder now”. At Cowboy, we look for 'earned insights' that demonstrate a founder's unique understanding of their space in addition to the tech/market trends supporting "why now".
6/ Find talent magnets

This extends to advisers, early engineers, other investors, and any other high-quality ppl the founders have convinced to spend their precious time helping them. This can be a huge point of leverage early-on.
7/ Invest in products w/ a fast 'time to wow'

This is so important for seed-stage companies to drive early adoption, usage, & customer/community love.
8/ Back companies that can get to Series A

Our companies usually raise multiple rounds & need to hit milestones to raise more $.

At Cowboy, we consider this in diligence & do an all-hands session post-investment to fine-tune milestones & have a path to get there (hiring, etc.)

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More from @amanda_robs

8 Jul
The past few years I've sat in a number of board rooms and watched some founders thrive and others struggle

Sharing some tips, particularly for first-time founders, on how to best run board meetings

Oh - and it's a THREAD 😉🧵
1/ Focus on a few strategic topics - leave general updates to a pre-read, board members can ask questions on those if they have them
2/ Use your board observers - most are dying to be helpful so whether it's taking notes or helping with one-off requests, ask them!
Read 11 tweets
30 Jun
Founders often ask about the value early-stage VCs can add

Reflecting on 4 years in venture, I’ve found it generally falls into the below categories

1/ strategic advice

VCs work with multiple companies and have seen them through different stages of growth; they can share learnings to augment your strategy and prevent you from making the same mistakes as others (we advise a lot on GTM)
2/ future financings

Early-stage VCs will have relationships with later-stage VCs so have a sense of the milestones needed for a successful future raise; they can also advise on the best firms/partners for your space
Read 13 tweets

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