According to B2B investor Arjun Chopra, not every startup is venture-scale. He explains what makes a venture-scale startup and why a solid founder-market fit is so important.
“We’re in the rocket fuel business,” Arjun Chopra explains of Floodgate, an early-stage venture capital firm where he’s a partner. “If you’re running a car, you don’t need rocket fuel, or you’ll probably blow the thing up. If you’re in the business of building rockets (and not every business should be a rocket), you are the people we should be talking to.”
And that’s basically the Floodgate teams’ job in a nutshell: To determine which startups have the ideas, talent, and the passion necessary to change the lives of their customers with a little rocket fuel to make it happen.“If you're running a car, you don't need rocket fuel, or you'll probably blow the thing up. If you're in the business of building rockets, you are the people we should be talking to.” - @acvox Click To Tweet
Although Arjun is the first to admit that they’re wrong more often than they’re right, their firm has had some big wins, as well. Floodgate has been early investors in Twitter, Lyft, Twitch, Okta, and Chegg, to name a few.
Prior to joining Floodgate, as CTO of Cambridge Technology Enterprises (CTE), Arjun helped small to enterprise-level companies modernize their IT stacks to embrace a cloud-first infrastructure. And with Arjun’s help, CTE became known as one of the leading partners of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Throughout his career, he’s been a founder, CTO, software developer, and more.
Now Arjun leads his firm’s B2B investments. He’s on the hunt for entrepreneurs that have ideas to transform the IT Stack and bring intelligent assistance to every aspect of an organization. “How do we enable every person to have ready access to an ‘Iron Man Suit’?”
At a Founders Network pitch practice, Arjun Chopra will critique the mechanics and content of seed stage founders’ elevator pitches.
- Aligning technological and market insights
- Assessing whether your team/talent is ready to deliver what you’ve promised
- Assessing your market (Are you focused on the right customers?)
- Critiquing your distribution model
- Gauging your ability to scale
One of the main things Arjun is looking for in a pitch is founder/market fit.
“Why is this your life’s work?” Arjun asks every founder, because he has found that the ones who are the most passionate or obsessed with what they do are the most likely to find success.
“If you can express that in the elevator pitch, and you can let that authenticity shine, that does count for a lot. And maybe not every investor respects or will value that, but this is really what we try to look for.”
As early-stage investors, Floodgate invests in people over ideas.
“It’s an exciting spot to be at, because you see so many people with such great ideas and great execution oftentimes behind them but willing to spend the prime years of their youth pursuing their dream, and for us to be even a small part of that is an incredible honor.”
Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $1M in startup discounts and mentorship from 50+ Institutional Investors. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.