Venture Capital Spotlight (Boris Wertz of Version One Ventures)
Boris Wertz is the founder of Version One Ventures, an early stage VC firm focused on investments in SaaS, mobile tech, and consumer internet startups. Boris is an entrepreneur, turned angel investor, turned VC and has been featured in TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and is a regular contributor to Business Insider.
Q: What was your driving factor for transitioning from angel investing to establishing your own VC fund?
Boris: After having learned the ropes of investing over more than 4 years as an angel, I felt that it was the right time to take my investing game to the next level. Access to more capital allows me to write larger initial checks (up to $500K) and do more follow-on investing which will both increase returns.
Q: Your VC Fund, Version One Ventures, will focus on consumer Internet, software-as-a-service, e-commerce, and mobile companies. What opportunities do you see in these fields in terms of consumer trends and growth?
Boris: I am mainly investing on the basis of 3 big trends:
1) the raise of smart phones gives billions of people access to the Internet from anywhere at any time which will create larger audiences and a deeper engagement
2) the consumerization of enterprise software is creating new opportunities to leverage technology in companies of all sizes
3) e-commerce continues to grab significant market share from offline retail with large segments (like apparel) still be underdeveloped.
Q: You yourself have been on the opposite side of the VC table, as part of JustBooks & Abebooks. As an entrepreneur, how was your experience dealing with VC's and what were you able to take away from the experience as you developed Version One Ventures?
Boris: Entrepreneurs and investors are partners for the long-haul – always treat the other party in a fair way.
Q: Do you find that there are distinct advantages for those who have gone from entrepreneur turned VC, like yourself, than those with no startup experience?
Boris: Investors are more than ever judged by the value they can provide to entrepreneurs – having been a founder and operator myself, I can often provide advice to my portfolio companies that comes from lessons I learned the hard way myself.
Q: For those looking to break into VC, what advice would you give them?
Boris: With the number of active VC funds decreasing, it will be tougher getting into VC going forward. Differentiating yourself through hands-on startup and / or angel investing experience might help help in such a competitive job environment.