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Notation Capital
BE THE FIRST PARTNER TO HIGHLY
TECHNICAL FOUNDERS CAPABLE OF
BUILDING AND SCALING CAPITAL
EFFICIENT INTERNET COMPANIES IN NYC.
Notation Capital - Mission
WHO WE ARE
Alex Lines - Hacker - betaworks, bitly, chartbeat
Nick Chirls - Investor / Product - betaworks, HFC
We are technologists first. We have been building
and investing in the NYC startup community for
the past decade.
THESIS Pt. 1 - Capital Efficiency
Scaling computing infrastructure continues to get
dramatically more capital efficient.
“On relatively little capital, Instagram got to 100m users. Then,
Whatsapp got to 500m. Eventually, a solo entrepreneur will get to 1B
users.”
- Chris Dixon
“15 years ago you’d have 100 people, $10m raised and 1m users. Yo
has 1 man, 1m users and $1m raised. This is only going one way.”
- Benedict Evans
THESIS Pt. 1 - Operational Efficiency
Operational efficiency is also a force multiplier.
Recent advances have radically increased how
much infrastructure a single engineer can
manage.
Platform as a service, configuration management,
automation, and fault-tolerant distributed
architectures give engineers the leverage to
single-handedly orchestrate huge infrastructures.
THESIS Pt. 1 - Operational Efficiency
The ratio of users:engineers is a strong indication
of a company’s operational efficiency and
potential return on invested capital.
YouTube - 1M:1 (at acquisition, 2006)
Facebook - 1.2M:1 (c. 2013)
Instagram - 12.5M:1 (at acquisition)
Whatsapp - 14M:1 (at acquisition)
THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover
7+ years into the current cycle, the first wave of
hugely valuable NYC (and SV) companies have
been built.
NYC has had category creating wins (Kickstarter,
Etsy, Tumblr, MakerBot, BuzzFeed) with well over
$15B+ in value created this cycle so far.
THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover
As these companies have grown up, NYC has built
a deep network of technical talent. This is
evidence of NYC’s maturing ecosystem.
We’re seeing talented technical people leave the
first wave of successful companies to join or start
new startups. We believe these people will build
the next wave of hugely successful companies.
THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover
How do we know this is happening now?
We’re systematically mapping out the “talent
graph” using publicly available data sources and
human intelligence and we’re beginning to mine
signals to predict key movements in the network.
We expect to find ways to productize, and likely
open source these findings.
THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover
How do we know this is happening now?
We also know this because these are our people.
These are the hackers and designers we’ve worked
with and built products with for years.
Although this network of NYC talent is beginning
to mature, there is still a significant opportunity to
fill the space as the core of this ecosystem.
THESIS Pt. 3 - VCs Have Leveled Up
As this first wave of startups have grown up, the
best VC firms are moving higher up the stack: USV,
Thrive Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures.
There are very few top-tier investors left in NYC
focused on true angel / pre-seed: High Line
Venture Partners, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Box
Group...
THESIS Pt. 4 - A New Firm
There is a meaningful opportunity for a small,
NYC-focused pre-seed fund that can help the next
wave of technical founders with small amounts of
early capital and guidance getting to market.
Given our experience investing in, building, and
scaling products, we believe no one is better
positioned to execute this strategy.
FUND STRUCTURE
$6M Pre-Seed Fund
10 Pre-Seed investments / year ($150k each)
$1M Cap on total costs (mgmt, operating, legal, etc)
20% Carry
“Pre-Seed” means investing first money into
highly technical teams pre-product or early
prototype.
We invest $100k-$200k (which may represent the
entire pre-seed round) and work closely with these
teams with the expectation of getting a product
into market and raising institutional seed capital
if/when necessary.
STRATEGY Pt. 1 - Pre-Seed
Our office in Brooklyn will be a space for founders
to build, where we can work closely together
during their earliest days.
The space is an important part of building strong
community and network over time, even beyond
the founders we invest in.
STRATEGY Pt. 2 - Space to Build
Our relationships and history with seed stage
investors represent important capital access for
our founders.
SOME FIRMS WE’VE INVESTED WITH
BETAWORKS
LERER VENTURES
SV ANGEL
THRIVE CAPITAL
USV
HIGH LINE VENTURE PARTNERS
INDEX VENTURES
RRE VENTURES
FUEL CAPITAL
FOUNDER COLLECTIVE
FIRST ROUND CAPITAL
SPARK CAPITAL
BLOOMBERG BETA
RED SWAN VENTURES
FLYBRIDGE CAPITAL PARTNERS
CAA
BOX GROUP
BROOKLYN BRIDGE VENTURES
COLLABORATIVE FUND
RED SEA VENTURES
NEXT VIEW VENTURES
VAYNER RSE
HYDRAZINE CAPITAL
WHITE STAR CAPITAL
QUOTIDIAN VENTURES
MESA+
LAUNCH CAPITAL
BETAWORKS - Sweat
CHARTBEAT - Sweat
ELECTRIC OBJECTS - Investment + Advisory
HYPERPUBLIC (ACQUIRED GROUPON) - Advisory
ESTIMOTE - Investment + Syndicate
NAMO MEDIA (ACQUIRED BY TWITTER) - Investment
CHAIN - Investment
URX - Investment
MEMOIR - Investment + Syndicate
SOCRATIC - Investment
NILAS - Investment
FRONTBACK - Investment
GRAND ST (ACQUIRED BY ETSY) - Investment
LAYERVAULT - Investment
SEEME - Investment
WAYFINDER - Investment
MAKR - Investment
SOME PREVIOUS INVESTMENTS
Shana Fisher - Founder, High Line Venture Partners / Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Andy Weissman - Partner, Union Square Ventures
Naval Ravikant - Founder, AngelList
Chris Paik - Partner, Thrive Capital
Tony Haile - CEO, Chartbeat
David Brinker - Head of Corp. Dev, News Corp
Terrence Rohan - Head of Seed Investments, Index Ventures
John Borthwick - Founder / CEO, betaworks
Geraldine Laybourne - Founder, Nickelodeon
Chris Howard - Partner / Founder - Fuel Capital
Jake Levine - CEO, Electric Objects
Amanda Peyton - CEO, Grand St
Gabor Cselle - CEO, Namo Media
Kevin Carter - Partner, SV Angel
Steve Cheney - Co-Founder / SVP, Estimote
REFERENCES

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Notation Capital Fund 1 pitch deck

  • 2. BE THE FIRST PARTNER TO HIGHLY TECHNICAL FOUNDERS CAPABLE OF BUILDING AND SCALING CAPITAL EFFICIENT INTERNET COMPANIES IN NYC. Notation Capital - Mission
  • 3. WHO WE ARE Alex Lines - Hacker - betaworks, bitly, chartbeat Nick Chirls - Investor / Product - betaworks, HFC We are technologists first. We have been building and investing in the NYC startup community for the past decade.
  • 4. THESIS Pt. 1 - Capital Efficiency Scaling computing infrastructure continues to get dramatically more capital efficient. “On relatively little capital, Instagram got to 100m users. Then, Whatsapp got to 500m. Eventually, a solo entrepreneur will get to 1B users.” - Chris Dixon “15 years ago you’d have 100 people, $10m raised and 1m users. Yo has 1 man, 1m users and $1m raised. This is only going one way.” - Benedict Evans
  • 5. THESIS Pt. 1 - Operational Efficiency Operational efficiency is also a force multiplier. Recent advances have radically increased how much infrastructure a single engineer can manage. Platform as a service, configuration management, automation, and fault-tolerant distributed architectures give engineers the leverage to single-handedly orchestrate huge infrastructures.
  • 6. THESIS Pt. 1 - Operational Efficiency The ratio of users:engineers is a strong indication of a company’s operational efficiency and potential return on invested capital. YouTube - 1M:1 (at acquisition, 2006) Facebook - 1.2M:1 (c. 2013) Instagram - 12.5M:1 (at acquisition) Whatsapp - 14M:1 (at acquisition)
  • 7. THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover 7+ years into the current cycle, the first wave of hugely valuable NYC (and SV) companies have been built. NYC has had category creating wins (Kickstarter, Etsy, Tumblr, MakerBot, BuzzFeed) with well over $15B+ in value created this cycle so far.
  • 8. THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover As these companies have grown up, NYC has built a deep network of technical talent. This is evidence of NYC’s maturing ecosystem. We’re seeing talented technical people leave the first wave of successful companies to join or start new startups. We believe these people will build the next wave of hugely successful companies.
  • 9. THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover How do we know this is happening now? We’re systematically mapping out the “talent graph” using publicly available data sources and human intelligence and we’re beginning to mine signals to predict key movements in the network. We expect to find ways to productize, and likely open source these findings.
  • 10. THESIS Pt. 2 - Talent Turnover How do we know this is happening now? We also know this because these are our people. These are the hackers and designers we’ve worked with and built products with for years. Although this network of NYC talent is beginning to mature, there is still a significant opportunity to fill the space as the core of this ecosystem.
  • 11. THESIS Pt. 3 - VCs Have Leveled Up As this first wave of startups have grown up, the best VC firms are moving higher up the stack: USV, Thrive Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures. There are very few top-tier investors left in NYC focused on true angel / pre-seed: High Line Venture Partners, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Box Group...
  • 12. THESIS Pt. 4 - A New Firm There is a meaningful opportunity for a small, NYC-focused pre-seed fund that can help the next wave of technical founders with small amounts of early capital and guidance getting to market. Given our experience investing in, building, and scaling products, we believe no one is better positioned to execute this strategy.
  • 13. FUND STRUCTURE $6M Pre-Seed Fund 10 Pre-Seed investments / year ($150k each) $1M Cap on total costs (mgmt, operating, legal, etc) 20% Carry
  • 14. “Pre-Seed” means investing first money into highly technical teams pre-product or early prototype. We invest $100k-$200k (which may represent the entire pre-seed round) and work closely with these teams with the expectation of getting a product into market and raising institutional seed capital if/when necessary. STRATEGY Pt. 1 - Pre-Seed
  • 15. Our office in Brooklyn will be a space for founders to build, where we can work closely together during their earliest days. The space is an important part of building strong community and network over time, even beyond the founders we invest in. STRATEGY Pt. 2 - Space to Build
  • 16. Our relationships and history with seed stage investors represent important capital access for our founders. SOME FIRMS WE’VE INVESTED WITH BETAWORKS LERER VENTURES SV ANGEL THRIVE CAPITAL USV HIGH LINE VENTURE PARTNERS INDEX VENTURES RRE VENTURES FUEL CAPITAL FOUNDER COLLECTIVE FIRST ROUND CAPITAL SPARK CAPITAL BLOOMBERG BETA RED SWAN VENTURES FLYBRIDGE CAPITAL PARTNERS CAA BOX GROUP BROOKLYN BRIDGE VENTURES COLLABORATIVE FUND RED SEA VENTURES NEXT VIEW VENTURES VAYNER RSE HYDRAZINE CAPITAL WHITE STAR CAPITAL QUOTIDIAN VENTURES MESA+ LAUNCH CAPITAL
  • 17. BETAWORKS - Sweat CHARTBEAT - Sweat ELECTRIC OBJECTS - Investment + Advisory HYPERPUBLIC (ACQUIRED GROUPON) - Advisory ESTIMOTE - Investment + Syndicate NAMO MEDIA (ACQUIRED BY TWITTER) - Investment CHAIN - Investment URX - Investment MEMOIR - Investment + Syndicate SOCRATIC - Investment NILAS - Investment FRONTBACK - Investment GRAND ST (ACQUIRED BY ETSY) - Investment LAYERVAULT - Investment SEEME - Investment WAYFINDER - Investment MAKR - Investment SOME PREVIOUS INVESTMENTS
  • 18. Shana Fisher - Founder, High Line Venture Partners / Partner, Andreessen Horowitz Andy Weissman - Partner, Union Square Ventures Naval Ravikant - Founder, AngelList Chris Paik - Partner, Thrive Capital Tony Haile - CEO, Chartbeat David Brinker - Head of Corp. Dev, News Corp Terrence Rohan - Head of Seed Investments, Index Ventures John Borthwick - Founder / CEO, betaworks Geraldine Laybourne - Founder, Nickelodeon Chris Howard - Partner / Founder - Fuel Capital Jake Levine - CEO, Electric Objects Amanda Peyton - CEO, Grand St Gabor Cselle - CEO, Namo Media Kevin Carter - Partner, SV Angel Steve Cheney - Co-Founder / SVP, Estimote REFERENCES