You won’t hear this at Wharton:
“The best way to become a VC is to host a podcast and write threads on Twitter.”
But that’s the reality for a new type of investor: “Content Creating Solo GP.”
They don’t want board seats.
They don’t want to lead funding rounds.
They just want to work with smart and talented founders, leverage their network, and continue doing what they do best: create content.
In this article, we share the models of the best content creators and how they used their online presence to become solo GPs.
At the end, we give a list of solo GPs and where you can start studying their playbooks. Get your Bookmarks ready.
Let’s begin by looking at the curious case of Harry Stebbings, a 24-year-old wunderkind podcaster and investor.
Content Creators Are Now Solo GPs
Take Harry Stebbings for example.
He has a podcast called The 20-Minute VC, or 20VC for short. Every week, he interviews venture capitalists and investors, asking them how they got into venture, what their strategies are, and how they think about investing. Through years of podcasting, he’s built an audience of 200,000+ subscribers and 80 million downloads. Most recently, he’s leveraged his audience and brand to raise $140 million to invest in startups.
Here’s how Stebbings’ angel investing machine works:
He tells his listeners about his investments. His listeners could be users of the product or other investors looking for deals. By telling his listeners about his investments, he can bring users to his portfolio companies, attract potential investors to invest alongside him in deals, or invest in the funds he raises.
His portfolio companies benefit from relationships, users, and more investment capital. This increases the chance of high-value exits, which gives him carry and allows him to continue playing the “solo media company” and “personal brand building” games.
It’s helpful to understand how the best solo GPs think. That way, you can borrow from their knowledge and speed up your decision-making processes. Over time, you’ll develop deeper conviction, and build other skills.
Building Skills As a Solo GP
Like in sports or any other performance-driven activity, practice is essential. When the stakes are high, you need to move out of passive practice — the kind you might do when sketching or cooking — into a mode of deliberate practice, which is better for highly-competitive arenas with plenty of players.
Farnam Street — a popular blog for investors — offers a lightweight model for deliberate practice sessions:
“But deliberate practice is also invaluable for improving performance in fields such as teaching, nursing, surgery, therapy, programming, trading, and investing. It can even accelerate your progress in widely applicable skills such as writing, decision-making, leadership, studying, and spoken communication.
The key in any area is to identify objective standards for performance, study top performers, and then design practice activities reflecting what they do.”
Once more, here are the 3 keys for deliberate practice:
- Identify objective standards for performance
- Study top performers
- Design practice activities reflecting what they do
Steps 1 and 3 are difficult to reproduce for the solo GP because there are so many ways to measure “objective” success and each investor’s style and skills are different. But we do have ways to study top performers. Plus, they’re free!
Top Performing Solo GPs and Where To Study Their Work
Solo GPs see brand building as critical to their success, and there’s no better way to brand build than sharing their best knowledge online for free. Some of the most successful angel investors create massively helpful content on Twitter and their blogs.
Back to Stebbings for his take on this: “If you have an investor on your cap table that brings thousands of people’s attention to your company, that’s a very attractive value proposition that few VCs in general partnerships actually have.”
Here’s a list of top-performing solo GPs, and where you can read their work:
The Fund Admin Platform as Fast as a Solo GP
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