What is Jason M. Lemkin like as an investor?



Others can answer as well, but will share some Pros and Cons:

Pros / Neutral:

  • Require zero social proof. In fact, I sort of prefer there isn’t much. I don’t care which accelerator you went through, where you worked, where you went to school, or who the co-investors or angel investors were.
  • Will “lean in” a lot. I am happy to take the entire round, even if it is a relatively high % of the fund. I am OK investing 5% of the fund in the first check. Most folks only want to do 1–2%. I want to buy all the shares I can up front.
  • I am a high conviction investor. I believe all my investments will be pretty darn successful. I do not bet on the assumption some will make it and others won’t. So far, zero have failed (although two had immaterial ourtcomes) and the first batch has gone from $1m to $150m in total ARR in 3.5 years.
  • I will help you build your first management team. For many startups I’ve invested in, I’ve helped put in first VP of Sales, Marketing, Controller, etc. Ideally, very quickly.
  • I have actually done it. Later this won’t matter as much. But in the early days, it means I can give you pretty good advice. At least, I can help you avoid some critical errors.
  • I have strong follower VCs. Top VCs have funded almost all the companies I’ve invested in, at much higher next-round prices.
  • I can promote you. If you are in tech especially, I can help get you customers and brand equity by promoting you through the #1 platform in SaaS.
  • As long as you give it your all, that’s enough for me. I am OK losing all the money. I am OK making lots of mistakes. As long as you have given it your all, I always believe and am always a backer.
  • I don’t care about “being on boards.” I do need to be on the board if I am the largest investor, but I am not in the business of collecting board seats (or observer seats). I am 100% OK leaving the board at $8m-$10m ARR as long as there is a bigger investor on board — if you want me to.
  • Prefer more diverse teams. Most of our investors have a female co-founder, and three so far have a woman CEO. The majority of our investments are immigrants and/or founders from other countries. I have performed the best as CEO where I had the most diverse teams.


  • I take it all personally. I put everything in. The best investors view investments a bit more dispassionately. This means my feelings do get a bit hurt sometimes.
  • You won’t like my advice as much as you approach $10m ARR. Ideally, I transition off boards around $10m ARR. By then, the advice you might cherish at $1m becomes less interesting at $10m ARR. You’ll feel like you’ve made all the mistakes already. You probably could write SaaStr yourself at this point.
  • Limited tolerance for hiding the ball, and baloney. I know you will miss a month, a quarter, and even a year. But if you try to hide the ball or pretend otherwise, I start to lose confidence.
  • You have to want to work with me. Life is short and I only want to work with CEOs I’d work for. If you don’t really care who funds you, I am not the right choice. This stuff takes too long, and you really don’t make enough money off most investments (if any).
  • You can’t only go 90%. If you aren’t willing to give it 100%, I will drift away. But if you give it 100%, any outcome is A-OK by me.
  • Don’t invest pre-revenue. Unless I know you personally, I won’t invest before you have 10 Unaffiliated Customers or at least $8k-$10k a month in MRR. Others will. That’s just not me.

View original question on quora

Published on December 26, 2017

One Comment

  1. Thanks Jason. Do you invest in sole founder company if the company have at least $8k-$10k a month in MRR from 100+ unaffiliated customers?

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