Although there are no absolute rules that govern which companies Zygote will invest in, here are some guidelines to provide a sense of what kind of opportunities will be of the most interest.
- A big idea. Every great company starts with a great idea. Zygote seeks to help create great companies, not just successful ones.
- World changing. Most companies won’t change the world. But, some will. I like entrepreneurs who dream large.
- New technology. While many VCs are wary of “research projects”, I love new science and technology when it can be applied to solve real problems.
- Self-sustaining. In order to build a valuable enterprise, there must be a plan to become self-sustaining. An enterprise built to be acquired will have few options.
- Alignment with societal needs. If the need is there, the market will develop.
- Alignment with Zygote Ventures expertise and/or interest. I am most interested in investments where Zygote can add personal value in addition to money.
- <$1M to accomplish something. Some companies only need a small investment to reach sustainability, some need much more. I am interested in both. But I strongly prefer to invest at a stage when a fairly small investment can have a real impact on moving the company forward.
- SF Bay Area. I can have the most positive impact on a company when we can interact regularly, and in person. Therefore, I almost never invest in companies based outside of the SF Bay Area, or at least Northern California.
- Personal chemistry. Angel investing, at its best, will lead to a close, long-term relationship.
In the end, Zygote’s decision to invest is a very personal one. I want to work with companies where my involvement can add value, both to the enterprise and to me personally. I love to learn new things, work with exciting people, and make the world better. And, I love building great companies.