Interview With Jesse Randall
Describe your product or service & the problem it's solving:
“The first mobile app to give all investors, not just accredited, direct access to a VC fund. The platform is changing the game for everyday investors by opening up an asset class that was typically reserved for the ultra-wealthy.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“I was thinking about creating a traditional VC fund when I realized that I wouldn't be able to invest in my own fund because I wasn't an accredited investor. I quickly pivoted and worked tirelessly over the next few years with the SEC to identify a structure that would allow all investors, not just wealthy people, access the asset class. We are the VC fund for everyone!”
How are you funded?
“We are a VC-backed fintech.”
How big is your team, and what qualities do you look for when hiring new employees?
“We are around 16 people. We look for curious, smart people.”
Who is your target market? How did you determine this?
“Our target market is anyone who is interested in investing in venture.”
What has been your most successful marketing campaign, and why do you think it worked so well?
“Barnburner was a huge success because founders were able to compete for $500k and anyone who wanted to could vote for the best company. It was a fun, engaging event and pulled back the curtain a bit on the pitching process.”
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What do you consider to be your company's biggest competitive advantage, and how do you maintain it?
“Few things: we are first to market; we have an easy-to-use mobile app and low fees and investment limit; unlike a traditional VC fund, we invest across a number of startups, so our positions are not super concentrated; we educate our investors; and we've created a tight-knit community that loves our brand.”
What were the biggest challenges you faced in the early stages of building your startup, and how did you overcome them?
“Definitely working with the SEC so that anyone could invest in venture.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“I think the SVB collapse caught a lot of the startup community off guard.”
What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?
“In this environment, it's important to focus on building a sustainable, long-term business that is focused on fundamentals; Also surround yourself with people smarter than you and hire for your weaknesses.”
More on Sweater Ventures
Sweater Ventures offers the first mobile app to give all investors, not just accredited ones, direct access to a VC fund.
Jesse Randall, founder of Sweater Ventures, joins the podcast to discuss how his company makes it possible for anyone to invest in venture capital.