On this week’s episode of The First Close, we hear from Elizabeth Yin, the Co-Founder and General Partner of Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund focused on democratizing venture capital. Elizabeth started her career at Google. Eventually, she decided to start her own company, and ultimately, Elizabeth founded a company Launchbit, an advertising platform, which she sold in 2014. From there, Elizabeth started angel investing, she became a partner at 500 Startups, and then co-founded Hustle Fund.
Elizabeth and the team have built Hustle Fund on three pillars: capital, knowledge, networks. The way the firm delivers on these value propositions looks a lot like how a tech company operates.
As Elizabeth shares on the podcast, “We very much think about building Hustle Fund from a tech company perspective, where we try to build in scaled processes, but also we want to incentivize people to be excited and work hard on their projects. So people at Hustle Fund have a lot of autonomy and a lot of economics, which you don’t typically see at a VC fund.”
Accessibility, especially, at the pre-seed stage is a huge competitive advantage. Hustle Fund is investing in the riskiest part of the entire venture asset class. Many companies form, but few get funded, and even fewer succeed. The vast majority of venture capital goes to companies that have traction.
Hustle Fund has designed their firm to ensure they see as much of the pre-seed ecosystem as they can. Their team has worked to remove all barriers to entry, so that they have the best possible chance of finding and funding the companies that will be successful. As Elizabeth tells her founders, the most important elements of any business are customer acquisition and unit economics. Uniquely, they are a venture firm that has figured out how to deliver on both.
In this episode of The First Close, we cover:
- Elizabeth’s relentless focus on customer acquisition and unit economics
- Hustle Fund’s three pillars of capital, knowledge, and networks
- Building Hustle Fund like a tech company, with scaled processes and their focus the founder experience