August 18, 2021

Building “Super Trust” with Exceptional Founder Service

By
Aydin Senkut

When I launched Felicis 15 years ago, I set out to build a venture firm that focused on engineering founder delight and trust. This differentiated approach led to incredible success and has attracted amazing talent from diverse backgrounds. Together, we’re celebrating a big milestone.


We are announcing that we have closed Felicis 8, our first “fund family” at $900M. Our core $600M fund is complemented by a new Focus Fund, where our team will concentrate $300M into our highest performing companies. This structure expands our investing aperture considerably.



We also welcome Viviana Faga as a General Partner to Felicis. She is an exceptional operator with experience in scaling product-led, hyper growth companies like Yammer and Salesforce along with a strong angel investing track record. While I've known her for years, it’s her reputation for exceptional help among founders that we feel will make a big impact on our fast growing founder community.

 

With these new funds, our first checks will range from $1M to over $50M -- larger than our entire first fund ($41M), which closed a little over a decade ago! We also plan to invest significantly in our Founder Success efforts to ensure no request is too small or too difficult to fulfill when it comes to supporting the founders we back.

 

Our dreams have always been quite a bit bigger than our fund size. 


We started building an incredible foundation on a clean slate with early bets like Shopify, Fitbit, Matterport and Rovio in our first institutional fund. Back then, we were honored to participate in most rounds. Today, we are grateful to be in a position to lead them. In Felicis 7, we led or co-led 7 out of 10 investments. Compare that to 1 out of 7 in our first fund. Today, we can proudly claim 41 investments that are valued at $1 billion or more, including 8 "decacorns" valued at over $10 billion each. Felicis has had at least one $1B+ exit every year for the last 10 years across a wide range of entry stages, sectors and geographies.

 

Prioritizing founder trust over mere financial returns powered this transformation. Founders have told us that they choose to partner with us because we move quickly and with conviction, and over-deliver on critical needs when asked. Engineering solid trust with founders has become our True North, and great returns have followed: our lifetime cash on cash return has grown to 6x across all our funds. (That includes all losses and write offs.)


 “Super Trust” is critical in an era of super capital. 


In order to engineer “Super Trust” in the era of boundless capital following fastest growing companies, we are working on engineering mental scaffolding for our founders to be able to continue their stellar growth without crushing their souls. We are focusing our efforts and our resources on coaching and mental health support for our founders, along with more sustainable scaling of their companies by improving their recruiting and operational excellence on call.

 

In order to consistently exceed founders' expectations, we’ve focused on growing our team with high-EQ, experienced operators that stand out with a service mentality above all, like Viviana and Jake Storm, who recently joined us as a VP.  We strive for our team to mirror the diversity of the incredible founders we’ve backed, and those we have yet to meet.

 

We will double down on what contributed to our success to date.


We are combining investing in reinvention as in traditional areas like enterprise and consumer, coupled with frontier investing where new markets are being created from solving climate change to new ways of fighting cancer. We are also expanding our focus from system-of-record companies to those that aim to be a system of actionable insights, or better yet, system-of-implementation leaders - simply the best platform companies in the world. Because we aim to excel in conviction and speed - as always - we are backing our commitment by being agnostic on the check size up to $50M, geos and stages from Seed to Series C.

 

Our dream is simple: We want to empower the most hungry, driven founders of the world who want to build iconic companies. We aim to do so by being the platform that maximizes the talents of ambitious but humble investors building Super Trust by providing exceptional founder service.

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