Entrepreneur Shahram Seyedin-Noor founded Civilization Ventures in 2017 to invest in biotech, life sciences, and other healthtech startups led by founders who are often fresh out of their PhD programs. Five years later, the entrepreneur’s San Francisco-based VC firm–he describes himself as a mentor capitalist–has amassed nearly $100 million in assets under management and backed four different unicorns, or companies that have surpassed a valuation of $1 billion.
While building Civilization alongside vice president Themasap Khan, Shahram Seyedin-Noor chose Carta to be his fund administrator, in part thanks to his experience with the company’s cap table management product.
Shahram Seyedin-Noor now uses Carta primarily for back-office fund administration, which includes fund accounting, investment insights, and limited partner (LP) communications. That’s allowed him to dedicate more time to focus on advising the growing list of founders in his portfolio.
“I’d been using Carta for many years. It is the gold standard,” he said of Carta’s cap table product. “And I thought, if they’re creating this fund administration and user interface for LPs, it could really be a game-changer that sets us apart from legacy firms.”
Reliable service that will help your firm succeed
For years, Shahram Seyedin-Noor relied on a traditional accounting firm for his fund administration needs. But he never felt their goals were aligned with his firm’s. And he wasn’t happy with the unpredictable invoices and billing structure.
When Carta’s fund administration business launched, he made the switch. And it’s helped his two-man firm save time so he can instead focus his efforts on working operationally with portfolio companies early in their lifecycle, guiding them through strategic planning, financing rounds, and other critical decisions.
In other words, Shahram Seyedin-Noor’s time is precious. So it’s especially valuable when Carta’s team is always available to answer questions or help him solve problems.
“They have amazing positive attitudes,” he said. “They’re very service-oriented. They have extremely fast turnaround time. I’ve just never had a bad encounter with them, personally. I really enjoy working with them.”
Regardless of the problem’s scope or size, Shahram Seyedin-Noor said he knows Carta’s team will be able to help. And he looks forward to the conversation. All to say, he won’t be switching back anytime soon.
“They are the kind of people that you enjoy getting on calls with because they’re positive and solution oriented,” he said. “And they listen to my input as they continually refine the Carta portal.”
Fund admin services for every market environment
After more than a decade of explosive growth, the biotech sector has faced new challenges in 2022. Startup valuations have dropped dramatically, with public counterparts impacted by macroeconomic headwinds. IPOs have cratered. And crossover investors that helped prop up the entire sector, including many hedge funds, have stepped back after seeing investments marked down.
During times of such economic uncertainty, LPs expect more communication from dealmakers. Gone are the days of a GP sending a quarterly update to their LPs as their only means of LP communication. And Carta has adapted to the new reality with an LP portal that makes it easy to send documents, reports, and K-1s.
“I think it’s incredibly useful to be able to go on a website for an LP, and just click a button and see exactly how the fund is performing,” Shahram Seyedin-Noor said. Our LPs can go and see exactly what the portfolio is, which companies are marked up, and what our performance is. That visibility is incredibly important.”
One of Carta’s goals is to strengthen the connection between LPs and GPs, allowing venture capitalists to thrive in any market environment. Civilization Ventures was a prime example. Shahram Seyedin-Noor has relied on Carta’s fund administration team to help him address LP questions and used Carta’s LP portal to easily provide investors insight into the firm’s performance, which has remained strong despite the recent downturn.
“Carta fund administration ensures our LPs have a seamless user experience with easier access to the latest fund metrics,” he said. “We could not have scaled our fund so quickly without the support of the platform Carta has created.”
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