Our Investment in Resolute Ventures
by Lindel Eakman
We shared some of the backstory on our investment in Founder Collective and want to continue the conversation about our fund investing by highlighting Resolute Ventures. We are largely driven by people and relationships. It’s important that we build a real, personal connection with our partners and that we want to be in business with them for the next decade. That is most certainly the case with our investment in Raanan and Mike at Resolute.
Resolute’s brand is being “for founders, by founders” and we certainly heard that when we made reference calls to their portfolio companies. I’m not sure it was planned that way, but we did happen to catch a bunch of the company CEOs during and directly following a large, full portfolio off-site at Mike’s house. There was definitely a high level of praise and effusiveness. It’s clear that founders feel a real kinship and high level of support from their relationship with Raanan and Mike.
Resolute seeks to create a real community among its portfolio of founders. The availability and value of founder-to-founder advice is often correlated to the relationships between and among the portfolio companies. We certainly see this in our portfolio companies, referring to each other as “cousins” and providing incredible support to each other. It was clear that Resolute shared this sense of family/community with their portfolio. They recently brought on Caroline to organize and enhance their network.
We’ve known Mike since his early days at Polaris, saw him make a commitment to early stage companies at Dogpatch Labs, and followed his founding of Resolute in 2011. We invested together in TrackR in the Fall of 2015. These interactions raised our perceptions of his effectiveness. We knew Mike had lots of experience, an incredible network of relationships, and that he was a good judge of founders. We saw that Mike had the experience to know when to bet on a team and an idea. We really felt like we knew Mike personally and reputationally. However, we thought he needed a partner that balanced him. Enter Raanan.
Mike and Raanan partnered up in 2014, about halfway through the second Resolute fund. Meeting and getting to know Raanan has been a real pleasure. We were impressed with him as an individual talent. In fact, one of our other favorite firms indicated that they would have grabbed Raanan as a partner if Mike hadn’t snatched him up first.
Raanan’s background, character, and demeanor resonated as additive to Mike’s experience. More importantly, we felt he was the perfect balance to Mike’s personality. Partnership dynamics are a big part of our due diligence. We look at partners individually, but it’s the partnership dynamic that’s more important. How do personalities fit, balance, and affect the decision-making within the firm? Seeing these two separately and together gave us great confidence in their partnership. We gained comfort by listening carefully and engaging with Raanan and Mike as they talked openly and transparently about everything from past investment mistakes to GP economics and even the potential for adding a partner. This was a good indicator that these two would be able to focus on making the best investments together. It also gave us comfort that we could partner with them in more than a traditional LP relationship.
Our first call with Mike for the Resolute III fundraise stood out from other seed funds we’d spoken to at that point. I can remember pacing in my hot Texas carport (I was still in Austin) and getting excited about what I was hearing. Resolute invests, at the earliest stage, in people and ideas. Then they coach, cajole, and enable those teams through personal relationships rather than Board formality. Through these interactions, Resolute has managed to build larger ownership positions in its best companies by being really strategic with their follow-on investing.
We were an early commit to Resolute III speaking for more than 10% of the fund before many other institutions engaged. We were happy to see a number of our favorite LPs join us in this fund. The first advisory board meeting felt like a gathering of friends with whom we’ve made some great investments over the last decade plus. We think this supportive LP group really sets up Resolute Ventures for long term success.
We’re excited to formally partner with Mike and Raanan in their fund and look forward to finding more great entrepreneurs to back alongside them.