At AVP Ventures, we manage a seed stage venture fund based in Peru. We have reached the midpoint of the fund’s four year investment period, a good time to take stock of our progress. The fund, AVP Seed Fund I, has $2 million in committed capital from 24 investors who are engaged in our investment process and portfolio support.
As of August 2019, we have reviewed over 500 investment opportunities and invested in six companies. We have a great investment committee that approves investments and provides guidance for how to best structure investment rounds we lead. AVP Ventures invests behind founders who are developing the tools of digital transformation in Latin America. Our job is to invest behind great founders and then do our best to make the road a bit easier for them. Four, or 66% of the fund investments are led by female co-founders: Culqi, Fitco, Rebus and Emptor. One of our investments, Culqi, has achieved an exit from our portfolio and we have successfully distributed those funds back to investors.
We are learning a lot from the startups, who are inevitably one step ahead of us. Here are a few lessons:
Let founders lead
This one is pretty easy since the founders in our portfolio are relentless. For example, the Fitco leadership team had already moved to Mexico even before we invested.
Early and often
We aim to meet founders early and get to know them through frequent updates. Our average is 9-month prior to ultimately investing.
Bias for action
We work to propose terms to founders. This allows us to lead rounds, while not seeking to be the only investor. Startups don’t not always accept our term sheet, but this proactivity can create momentum for seed rounds and is a concrete way to move forward and get key issues out in the open as soon as possible.
We can’t do it by ourselves. Startups are hard and the more help they have means a higher probability of success.
Go together to go far
We can’t do it by ourselves. Startups are hard and the more help they have means a higher probability of success. We try to invest alongside investors that have more experience than we do. This ensures our portfolio companies have a complementary set of advisors and board members.
Spend time on a team
We spend most of our time talking to founders about how to get the right people on board and create a culture of retention. It’s all about finding the best talent and creating a culture where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
I am excited to see what these companies achieve and am looking forward to backing more great founders. We may be at the midpoint of the funds investment period, but in many ways we are just getting started.