How do L.A.’s venture capitalists decide when to bet on tech entrepreneurs? What is it that catches their eye and makes them invest big money? Los Angeles has lots of great startups with founders who can work well with their backers, know their industry and have mastered their interesting technology. But why are many of them passed over while a fortunate few are generously bankrolled? The Business Journal asked seven VC investors to describe their decision-making process that led them to finance notable local firms. Often, they said, there was some special something in the founders that won them over, and they instantly changed from being the pursued to being the pursuer. Mike Jones of Science said he loved Michael Dubin’s energy, and he “definitely knew” he wanted to invest in Dollar Shave Club. Adam Lilling of Plus Capital was impressed that Amanda Taylor had experience on Broadway but he really loved that she was passionate about dance so he put money into her YouTube network, DanceOn. Yes, it’s often the passion, the drive of the founders that makes VCs reach a decision point. But, of course, the startup has to be a promising business with real prospects, too. As Mark Mullen of Double M Partners put it: “If you have a great CEO and you can execute, but you have a tiny little market, who cares?”
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