In this episode of The First Close, we interviewed Tom Seo and Ryan Sells, co-founding partners of Dash Fund. Dash Fund is a pre-seed and seed-stage fund partnering with companies across the fintech landscape. Dash Fund invests at the very earliest stages of company development and focuses on being value-added coinvestors rather than leading rounds.
Tom and Ryan met when they were on opposite sides of the table. At that time, Tom was an investor with Citi Ventures and Ryan was head of business development for Second Measure. From their roles as investors and operators, they began collaborating. Eventually, they started angel investing together. Ryan and Tom subsequently raised a $3.3 million first fund in the spring of 2020. A year later, they closed a $21 million second fund.
At Carta, we’ve taken a look at the trends happening at the seed stage in fintech. You can find some of this data at the Carta Data Desk, where we publish information on round sizes and valuations across all industries. Over the past five years, we’ve seen seed-stage fintech round sizes and valuations skyrocket. In 2016, seed-stage round sizes were $1.8 million and post-money valuations hovered around $9 million. Now, median round sizes are at $2.8 million, with a median post-money valuation of $19.4 million. This puts seed-stage fintech companies at the very top of the heap in terms of valuations across all industries. Dash Fund is operating in a super competitive and expensive market, and aims to be a value-add for the founders they back.
In this episode of The First Close, we cover:
The factors that led Ryan and Tom to launch Dash Fund
Their strategic approach to building their LP base
How they help founders think through growth
How their choice to specialize in fintech gives them a competitive advantage
Listen to our interview with Dash Fund by streaming The First Close on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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