Innovator Story

Charles Hudson

Founder & Managing Partner, Precursor Ventures

Charles Hudson is the managing partner and founder of Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, focused on investing in promising companies during their first round of venture funding. He has invested in more than 375 companies and has supported more than 400 founders, including the teams behind Clearco, Juniper Square, The Athletic, Incredible Health, Carrot, and Pair Eyewear. Under his leadership, Precursor Ventures has raised four funds and has over $175 million under management.

Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a partner at Uncork Capital, where he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure. He was also the co­-founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, an Android-­focused mobile games startup.

Charles is the chair of the board of directors of the National Venture Capital Association, and is an advisor and mentor to a number of emerging managers.

To me, being an innovator means having the strength of character to remain still, calm, and consistent when everything around you is pushing you to do the opposite.
Charles Hudson
Founder & Managing Partner, Precursor Ventures

While most early-stage firms invest in 30 to 40 companies per fund, Precursor will write checks to 80 to 100 companies per fund. Charles’ superpower to handle all this is to be calm amid the storm.

“To me, being an innovator means having the strength of character to remain still,” he says. “Stillness is remaining calm and consistent when everything around you is pushing you to do the opposite.”

Company-building can be a roller coaster, and while it’s easy to have your emotions pulled along for the ride, steadiness is the best thing an early-stage investor can provide for a founder, Charles says.

“You get that frantic text or call from a founder where they say, ‘I need to talk to you ASAP, this thing is on fire,’ and it feels like a high-energy, high-anxiety moment,” he says. “And I think stillness is always asking yourself, before I get on this call, before we have this conversation: What can I do to best help this founder? How can I bring this back down to something that feels more natural, more calm, more even? I think that’s my job for the founder.”


It may be a common ethos among founders to “move fast and break things,” but success in venture capital takes patience, says Charles.

“If you think about the way the VC business works, it’s actually a pretty crazy proposition, because it takes a very long time to figure out if you’re right. Part of my job as a fund manager is to keep everybody—the founders that we’ve backed, the limited partners that have supported us—believing in the outcome, and believing that we’re on the right trail, for probably nine to 12 years before the financial returns really start to come back in a material way.”

Eventually, he says, the rewards of calmness and patience will start to materialize, both in terms of financial returns and what Charles sees as the best part of his job—witnessing a founder reach their potential. “Seeing these people get into the arena of entrepreneurship and thrive, hundreds of founders who might not have otherwise gotten the chance, and we had a small piece to play in that…that makes it all worth it for me.”