Former a16z Partner, Rex Salisbury, now GP at Cambrian; Speed of execution & career highs and lows

Episode Summary

Check out Rex and Cambrian! Youtube: Linkedin: (00:00:22) Speed of Execution (00:01:22) Fintech Investing (00:03:40) Building a Community (00:05:20) Time Commitment in Venture Capital (00:14:00) Benefits of running a solo GP firm (00:19:30) Size of Opportunity in Fintech 00:00:22 - Speed of Execution Speed of execution is a crucial factor in building a successful startup, as highlighted by Rex Salisbury, the founder and GP at Cambrian. He believes that founders who can quickly navigate the idea maze and improve their ideas are the ones to watch. Rex looks for founders who actively seek feedback and iterate on their concepts, building a more precise version of their idea within a short period of time. These founders are not afraid to sell their product before it's even built, showcasing their ability to move swiftly and efficiently. By building a strong team, scoping the product, and securing design partners, these founders demonstrate their commitment and ability to execute at a rapid pace. In summary, speed of execution is a key quality that Rex Salisbury values in founders, as it allows them to validate their ideas, attract investors, and save time and resources in the process. 00:01:22 - Fintech Investing Fintech Investing is a captivating and rapidly growing field that combines technology and finance to revolutionize the way we handle money. Rex Salisbury, the founder and GP at Cambrian, shares his valuable insights on the topic. One interesting perspective he highlights is the importance of speed of execution for founders looking to raise money. He emphasizes the value of founders who can quickly navigate the idea maze, find co-founders, and secure design partners, even before building a product. Overall, Fintech Investing presents a massive opportunity for both investors and founders, with a broad range of sectors to explore, such as InsureTech, PropTech, and HR technology. With the abundance of high-caliber talent and the continuous development of better tools, the fintech ecosystem is poised for further growth and innovation. 00:03:40 - Building a Community Building a community is not just about bringing people together, but also about creating a space where ideas can flourish and connections can be made. Rex Salisbury, the founder and GP at Cambrian, shares his experience of building a fintech community and how it ultimately shaped his career path. He started by organizing monthly events and summits, which grew into a thriving community that fueled his passion. Rex emphasizes the importance of speed of execution when it comes to building something new, highlighting the value of navigating the idea maze and improving upon initial concepts. His favorite kind of founders are those who move quickly, finding co-founders, signing deals with design partners, and running a tight process before even building a product or raising money. In summary, building a community can lead to unexpected opportunities and career shifts, as Rex's journey demonstrates the power of bringing people together in a shared space of innovation and growth. 00:05:20 - Time Commitment in Venture Capital Venture capital is a field that demands a significant time commitment, as highlighted by Rex Salisbury in the transcript. Unlike starting an operating company, venture capitalists make an even longer time commitment to their work. Fund one alone can last up to 14 years, with the possibility of raising multiple funds in the future. This commitment is necessary to build trust with investors and establish a track record. However, it can also be a source of stress for venture capitalists, as they navigate the uncertainties of finding great companies and ensuring their success. Despite the challenges, Rex expresses his enthusiasm for the job and the satisfaction he derives from it. 00:14:00 - Benefits of running a solo GP firm Running a solo GP firm offers numerous benefits, as highlighted by the speaker in the transcript. One interesting perspective shared by the speaker is the advantage of having diversity on the cap table, which allows for building relationships with a wide range of investors without the signaling issues that often arise in larger firms. Additionally, solo GP firms excel in helping entrepreneurs find follow-on capital, which is crucial for the growth of their businesses. These independent firms possess highly specialized knowledge and networks within specific ecosystems, making them valuable partners in terms of providing access to the networks that matter most. In summary, running a solo GP firm allows for greater control over investment decisions, the opportunity to leverage personal networks, and the potential for greater upside compared to being part of a larger venture firm. 00:19:30 - Size of Opportunity in Fintech The size of opportunity in Fintech is immense, with startups currently capturing only about 2% of the total revenue in financial services. This indicates a significant potential for growth and innovation within the industry. Speaker A highlights the abundance of talented individuals now working in Fintech, with a tenfold increase in the number of people employed by Fintech companies over the past decade. Additionally, Fintech extends beyond traditional banking and finance, with opportunities at the intersection of healthcare, human resources, and capital markets. Furthermore, the availability of better tools and infrastructure has made it easier for entrepreneurs to launch and build Fintech products, allowing for the development of multiple products within a shorter timeframe. In summary, the Fintech industry offers a large market, a pool of talented individuals, and improved resources, making it an attractive space for entrepreneurs and investors alike.