There has never been a better time to start a company. The industry is rich with blogs, podcasts, tweetstorms, and newsletters providing guidance to new founders. And the last decade has seen the emergence of strong online communities, alumni networks, and shared physical spaces that help with all aspects of starting a company, from logistics to funding. Technology platforms, such as the cloud and AI tooling, have kept pace allowing for the creation of incredibly sophisticated products quickly and with small teams. And the convergence of consumer and enterprise go-to-markets to support bottom up growth has dramatically dropped the cost and time required to get products into market.
Deep operational focus has been a core tenet of a16z since our founding. And having the shared experience of building dozens of companies, we understand how important the first few years of a company’s life are. We also appreciate how daunting those early days are — that first hire, early customer conversations, choices around location, operating model, and culture. And as former founders, helping entrepreneurs on this leg of the journey is something we love best.
In keeping with that, we’re very excited to announce our new $400M seed fund. Seed investments have long been at the heart of venture, the true financial bet towards a team, an idea, and little else. We’ve long viewed it as a core part of our own strategy, writing the earliest checks into Slack, Okta, Databricks, Samsara, Instagram, and many others since we opened our doors in 2009. And since 2020, about half of the new investments we’ve made have been in seed stage companies.
However, we continually strive to provide the best platform for entrepreneurs and having a separate seed fund can help us continue to focus our offering towards that. It will allow us to adapt our operating functions built for the earliest of stages. This will include access to training and content, an advisory group of peer companies, and a network specifically geared towards seed companies, including help with early hiring, early product design, early marketing and growth efforts, and of course, white-glove access to the most extensive customer network in the industry.
So what sort of companies are we looking to invest in? One of the advantages of seed investing is that we get to dream and learn with you. We cast the widest net when investing in seed companies. While our core focus in the firm is to continue to back the best software companies, at the seed stage we’re quite happy to stray from our traditional comfort areas to learn alongside the top teams undertaking the most ambitious ideas across any area of tech. And like we do today, we also plan to continue to partner within the seed ecosystem across seed funds, angel investors, and operators.
While having a seed fund is not a shift in strategy—seed has long been a core focus—it underscores our commitment to seed investing as a first class motion for the firm. And we are dedicated to offering the best platform to bring companies from seed through IPO.
We invite all entrepreneurs to come talk with us. Whether you’re just getting started, or much further along, it really has never been a better time to build!