The Full Ratchet (TFR): Venture Capital and Startup Investing Demystified

Jeff Clavier of Uncork Capital joins Nick to discuss Market Cycles, Escalating Costs to Start Up, and the Micro VC Surge. In this episode, we cover:


  • In 2004 you started making angel investments in emerging Web 2.0 companies and at that time, only a handful of individuals backed entrepreneurs in the internet space…What was your first investment and how did you get involved in the space? 
  • What's the story of the founding of SoftTech--now known as Uncork Capital. 
  • What led to the rebrand from SoftTech to Uncork? 
  • The investment focus/thesis of Uncork. 
  • You mentioned...FitBit, EventBrite, and's striking how different each of these businesses are...How you are able to get conviction and understand key success factors across different sectors with different models and overall profiles? 
  • How have the market cycles affected VC, your fund strategy, raising capital and the impact on portfolio companies? 
  • What are the most common mistakes you see early investors making? 
  • With the 600+ micro-VC funds the stage over capitalized? 
  • Is it more expensive to build a startup today than 10 years ago? 
  • Being that you are from your estimation, what have been the primary differences in funding European based startups vs. those in the States? 
  • Said to be one of the most helpful investors in the valley... what are some of the specific ways you get involved? 
  • On the firms website it talks about your “No Playbook” and “No Bullshit” approach that you’re not delivering “prescriptive formulas on how to build or scale” but instead developing custom plans, one on one. Tell us about these custom plans and the key elements. 
  • How Jeff balances time and energy with so many portfolio companies.