Ethos: What Golazo Means to NextView

Those of you who’ve visited the NextView website may have seen a Ethos section where we describe five tenets of how we approach things… Golazo, Authentic, Blank Canvas, Invited Guest, and Tribe.  I wanted to touch on ‘golazo’ as it’s my fault we use this strange verbiage, but also a critical element we look for in all the startups we invest in.

Golazo is a slang word in Spanish used to describe truly special goals scored in a soccer match.  Watch enough soccer on Telemundo or Univision and you’ll occasionally hear the commentators shout it at the top of their lungs, or just search on YouTube and you’ll get some examples.  There’s no literal translation of golazo into English, but the characteristics which distinguish a golazo from a run of the mill goal are that it’s amazing, colossal, and/or improbable in nature.

These are the same qualities we’re looking for in terms of ambition and potential scale of the startups we invest in.  As a seed-focused VC fund we invest comparatively small sums of capital at the very beginning of a startup’s life.  But everything we invest in has to have the potential to be a large, transformative business someday.  A company that in time can generate $100M+ in revenue and have an enterprise value measured in the hundreds of millions or more (what some VCs refer to as a “venture scale” outcome).  Simply put… startups that have golazo potential.

Obviously not every startup we invest in will become a golazo.  The potential for outsized investment return only comes with taking significant risk, especially when investing at the seed stage, so many of the companies we invest in will ultimately be unsuccessful.  Some may end up having more modest outcomes that product a decent return on investment, which we fully understand and are supportive of.  But for us that can’t be the goal at the outset and we try to be up front with entrepreneurs that we meet that we’re not the right investment partner if that’s what they’re looking for.

When we started NextView we wanted to describe our ethos in our own words.  Some of the elements we chose are less common concepts among VCs, but in two cases we have to tip our hats to other firms where we adopted an existing best practice.  One is striving to be an “invited guest” at the entrepreneur’s table, a notion that Greylock has both espoused and practiced for decades.  Also our ethos of golazo is conceptually similar to what Venrock describes as a “glimmer of greatness” that David picked up during his time there.

But as I said, we had to put NextView’s ethos in our own words.  I’m a complete nut about soccer… I played in my youth and have been an avid fan for many years.  I’ve been to a World Cup (South Korea 2002), gold medal Olympic soccer matches (men & women Beijing 2008), English Premier League, MLS, heck even AYSO.  Proof in point is my license plate:

So it always had to be golazo…

Lee Hower

I’m an investor, entrepreneur, and helper of technology startups. I’m currently a General Partner of NextView Ventures, an investment firm focused on seed stage internet-enabled businesses.  I co-founded NextView in 2010 with my partner Rob Go and David Beisel. I started in the VC business as a Principal at Point Judith Capital, an early-stage firm.  I joined PJC in 2005 and served as a Principal at the firm through early 2010.  During this time I co-led investments in FanIQ, Sittercity, and Multiply and sourced investments in Music Nation and NABsys. Prior to becoming a VC, I was a startup guy myself.  I was part of the founding team of LinkedIn, and served as Director of Corporate Development from the company’s inception through our early growth phases. Before that I was an early employee at PayPal, and worked in product management and corporate development roles through the company’s IPO in 2002 and subsequent sale to eBay later that year. I went to college at UPenn, and received degrees from both the School of Engineering and Wharton School of Business.

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