Some VCs describe themselves as “thematic” or “thesis-driven” investors. These folks typically hone in on an industry sector or type of company, immerse themselves in the subject, meet as many similar companies as possible, and then invest in some.
Other VCs can be described as “opportunistic” which sounds like they have no particular strategy or rely on random chance, which isn’t really the case. The reality is that there’s countless really smart founders out there thinking about a particular market opportunity 110% of their time. So “opportunistically” being open minded about all the great teams of co-founders and broad range great market opportunities makes some sense.
There are great VCs of both stripes and in practice most fall somewhere along a continuum where purely opportunistic and purely thematic are at opposite ends. I certainly am somewhere in the middle. There are times when I’m focused more intently on a thesis but I always have my antenna up for great founders working in areas that I haven’t been thinking about as much.
I’ve been exploring a new theme recently… I’ll talk more about it publicly as my thinking evolves further. But I was trying to relate what this exploration has been like to someone this morning. The best way I could describe it was as a “walkabout”. This market opportunity isn’t entirely new to me, but it’s not a core area of expertise either. So I’ve been educating myself about this market as much as possible, I’ve been meeting as many smart folks as I can in this space, and I’ve been trying to systematically map out where there’s room for disruption and where there isn’t.
So the best description was that I’ve embarked on a “walkabout” in this market space. The end result might be nothing, it might be that I lead investments in one or more new startups in this area, and there’s even a chance we might look to incubate a company to go tackle this. My journey is already underway and I’m excited…