We’re Joining the Dots Community

We’re Joining the Dots Community

  We’re excited to announce that Arena Ventures is joining dots SPACE, a new coworking community for startups here in Los Angeles. As seed stage investors, we think there is distinct value in embedding ourselves among new startups, and we feel most at home in the creative energy of a larger, active office filled with entrepreneurs from so many different backgrounds. So, last week our team moved into offices at dots’ first location in Beverly Hills. We’re fans of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that dots’ founder Yoann Bohbot is crafting here and his vision for its growth over the next couple years. Dots is curating a community exclusively for early stage startups, with their space, workshops, events, and other resources designed to fit the needs of small technology teams. With the motto “Learn. Work. Meet. Grow.”, they’re focused on guiding entrepreneurs through the full lifecycle from idea to funded startup. Our team is glad to help in “connecting the dots” within this ecosystem by contributing our perspective as early stage investors. We’ll be hosting office hours for companies here plus events for the broader LA tech community. One of our portfolio companies, Service, set up shop at the dots SPACE as well and we anticipate more joining over the next six months. Yoann grew up in Los Angeles and founded a managed IT services company, that eventually sold to a larger competitor, then created an e-commerce startup that got acquired as well in 2009. After the acquisition, he moved to Paris where he explored several new projects from a €10/day desk at NUMA, a large co-working space in the center...
The One-Two Punch: What We Invest In

The One-Two Punch: What We Invest In

  Our task at Arena is to back the most exceptional entrepreneurs and support their companies through the earliest stages. For us to most effectively do that though, there’s a lot of work that goes into filtering which investments we want to make and can add value to. A small number are perfect fits, but many others – while potentially promising – just aren’t the right match. Whenever I take my first look at startups, I use a “one-two punch” to quickly weed out most of them so I can focus on the right ones. The first punch is my set of “No Go” rules to quickly and ruthlessly kill deals that will waste both my time and the entrepreneur’s because they are objectively not fit for our strategy. The second punch is to filter the remaining ones through the framework of what we aim to invest in more philosophically – it takes more thought but lets us eliminate another 50% to 75%. Those that survive become official “Opportunities” in our pipeline that we sink our teeth into to reach a final investment decision (see “5 Questions I Ask Before Investing”). Mark Suster wrote a good post last week encouraging people to focus their time at the bottom of the funnel. To do so, you need to build your own rules and processes that filter the top efficiently. I’m shocked by the number of investors who don’t have No Go rules and end up wasting a lot of time pursuing false leads. Basic Rules So to lay them out publicly, these are the basic rules of our investment strategy at Arena Ventures. Deals...
Welcome to In The Arena

Welcome to In The Arena

Welcome to In The Arena, a blog/magazine by Arena Ventures. Our goal with In The Arena is to publish insightful advice, stories, and interviews about the world of startup investing. We hope this will be much more than just a company’s blog – we want it to be an engaging publication and educational resource for the wide range of startup investors around the world and for entrepreneurs seeking a deeper understanding of how investors think. There are many quality media outlets and blogs online to guide new entrepreneurs and tell their stories, but comparatively few resources for new investors. Given Arena’s goal to activate 10,000 new angel investors through our hybrid model of venture capital and crowdfunding, we decided to step in and start filling that gap. Early stage investing operates in an entirely separate sphere from other fields of finance: it’s not about Excel docs and financial models, it’s first-and-foremost about understanding people, then secondly about creativity. It’s a culture where the smartest minds work in t-shirts and old sneakers experimenting with new product ideas, not sitting in corner offices wearing Armani suits. Investing in startups, either as an angel or a venture capitalist, is an exhilarating adventure that rewards creativity, contrarian thinking, and entrepreneurial hustle. We’re fortunate to be investing during a pivot point in man’s relationship with technology: the pace of technological innovation continues to accelerate faster than ever before. A future with driverless cars, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction, but reality. The industry of venture capital and angel investing has historically been shrouded in the mystery of backroom deals and...