In this episode of The First Close, we interview Manu Kumar, serial entrepreneur, investor and co-founder of Carta. Manu founded his venture firm K9 Ventures in 2009 to invest in pre-seed companies as a solo GP. This strategy was uncommon at the time, there were only a handful of seed funds and almost no solo GPs. Today, the seed stage is its own sub-asset class and solo GPs are on the rise.
Before launching K9 Ventures, Manu built and sold two successful companies. The first company Manu founded was SneakerLabs in 2000 and later he was Founder and CEO of iMeet. He has since co-founded three more companies, including HiHello, which is his current focus as a co-founder. Manu has an impressive academic career as well, completing his undergraduate and Masters degrees in software engineering at Carnegie Mellon and earning his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford.
In this episode of The First Close, we cover:
- Manu’s passion for building companies from idea stage
- His experience founding K9 Ventures firm in 2008 right before the Global Financial Crisis
- The five most important elements of his investment criteria
- Why he believes the best CEOs work to make themselves redundant
- Building relationships with institutional limited partners and how to create alignment
- Storytelling as the secret to a great pitch deck