Matt Turck, a Managing Director of FirstMark Capital, invests across a broad range of early- stage enterprise and consumer startups. Prior to FirstMark, he was a Managing Director at Bloomberg Ventures, the investment and incubation arm of Bloomberg LP, which he helped start. Previously, Matt was the co-founder of TripleHop Technologies, a venture-backed enterprise search software startup that was acquired by Oracle.
I started my career in tech as the co-founder of an enterprise software startup, focused on search and unstructured data management. That company was acquired by Oracle, and I spent a few years there post-acquisition. I left to help start Bloomberg Ventures, the first incubation and venture effort of Bloomberg LP (which has morphed into Bloomberg Beta). I've been a partner at FirstMark since 2013.
Depends a bit on the type of venture (enterprise software vs gaming, for example), but ultimately it revolves around a couple of key factors for me: (i) do they have a real edge understanding the problem they're trying to solve, (ii) are they truly excellent (excellence can be expressed in different ways) and (iii) are they people we see ourselves work with for many years to come (alignment in values, style, ambition,grit, etc.).
We're a "low volume, high conviction" firm, meaning that we don't make tons of new investments a year, but when we do, we're all in. That means the partner on the deal takes deep responsibility for the company's success for years to come, through thick and thin. In addition, we're very proud of our Platform efforts - we have a team dedicated to post-investment support, which has been pioneering the concept since the beginning of FirstMark, and has become remarkably good at what it does, over the years. We tend to work well with founders who are interested in this hands-on, involved approach -- people who are collaborative, transparent, and embrace the fact that "it takes a village" to build a great company.
A common thread of successful pitches is "clarity of thought". You can tell very quickly in a pitch if you're talking to one of those founders who have been thinking about a problem for a long time and in unusual levels of depth. There's both a sophistication and a simplicity to the pitch, and that's very compelling.
Ultimately, our job is to provide the best possible financial return to our LPs. But it can also be an intensely rewarding personal experience - each startup is a human adventure where a group of people defy the odds to create something new. As an investor and board member, you can, and should, have a positive impact on this journey by fostering values of respect, positivity, inclusiveness, honesty, transparency, etc. Diversity is clearly the key theme of 2020 for us.
NYC is at this really interesting inflection point where we're now clearly established (for example, with several public companies above $10B in market cap), but the ecosystem still remains somewhat collegial - it's still possible to know most people and most companies. The future of NYC tech is incredibly bright - the network effects that are necessary to build a tech ecosystem take many years to kick in, but right now they're in full display in NYC. You see NYC becoming not just a massive US ecosystem, but also attracting an ever growing number of European and Israeli companies. It's all very exciting.