Since Bee Partners’ inception, we’ve had the great opportunity to experience what constitutes an incredible investment. While we seriously evaluate a startup’s market potential and business model viability, we have found that the one signal, beyond all others, is the the founding team. We expect our Founders to be aligned with Bee Partners culture and values, and demonstrate resource magnetism, uncanny passion, grit, and empathy.
To assess Bee Partners fit, we engage and partner with Founders long before we write a check. Importantly, we must identify that our support for Founders can transcend not just the first three months post-investment but for the next decade. Importantly, we must share their vision for the future and subscribe to the worldview that will propel their startup to success.
Founders who are resource magnets delight us with their ability to collect and attract people, partners and customers into their organization. A great example is Founder and CEO of Skycatch, Christian Sanz. Christian has a knack for inspiring people to join his vision. He constantly surprises us with ability to convince team members to leave their stable, cushy jobs at large corporations, and pull investors into his orbit to then leverage their passion and talent to achieve collective success.
While it may appear conventional to require Founders to be passionate about their ventures, we have witnessed a clear distinction between a short-lived interest, and uncanny passion. Uncanny passion cannot be faked and is the difference between pivoting and iterating to success, and giving up in the face of a massive challenge. Eli Dawson’s relentless pursuit of a redefined sports fan experience with Statmuse, comes across in everything, from his team’s offsite adventures all the way to his board meetings. Neighborly’s Jase Wilson will have you convinced after mere minutes that the path to American prosperity is through the power of a municipal bond. Each of these Founders, along with countless others, are steadfast in their pursuit of their ideal.
Here at Bee Partners, we subscribe to some of the latest research about success drivers, and specifically, to Angela Duckworth’s work on Grit. Defined as the perseverance and passion for long-term goals, grit is a necessary condition for success. Brett Wilson and John Hughes from TubeMogul pivoted their way to an early, revenue generating product, only to have the confidence in each other to demolish it and restart. Ten years later, they’re an outright success. Tradesy’s CEO, Tracy DiNunzio, Airbnb’ed her apartment and sold her car in order to pay her first developer. These Founders will stop at nothing to ensure that their companies survive and thrive, and they are willing to drive against adversity in relentless pursuit of their visions.
If you don’t think that entrepreneurship is a team sport, think again. Founders must partner with their co-founders, employees, investors, early customers, vendors and more. We believe that high empathy, when combined with the three qualities above, significantly improves the likelihood of success. Founder and CEO of Magoosh, Bhavin Parikh, attracts top-rated talent at competitive salaries due in large part to his laser focus on his company’s culture. Now a team attribute, empathy propagates into the company’s hiring process, how they listen to customers and even into their product releases. By emphasizing the importance of the collective, Bhavin has built Magoosh into #186 on Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the US.
At Bee, we embrace the humanity of Seed investing. Our Founders do not embody cookie-cutter entrepreneurs, and there is no prescribed persona in which we invest, but we hold our values in high regard, and we seek founders that live by them as well. We are always looking for new Founders that fit within our Bee family. If you believe that you are a fit, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.