Guest Update: When the episode was recorded in 2019, Cyan was a partner at Founders Fund. Currently, Cyan is a partner at Long Journey Ventures.
In this special replay of episode 180, Cyan Banister of Long Journey Ventures joins Nick to discuss the Self-Made Engineer, Angel, and Venture Capitalist.
In this episode, we cover:
- So, Cyan you have a really interesting story and background that led you to where you are today. Feel free to start wherever makes most sense but can you talk about your life experience and how it led you to where you're at now?
- You spoke publicly about your early life at the 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt conference, from living on the streets to becoming a venture capitalist, tell us about this incredible journey, what you accredit your success to and how it lead to venture?
- Where along the way did you meet Scott? Did you guys every consider raising your own fund?
- How early are you able to go at Founder's Fund?
- How do you work with founders post-investment?
- Judicious with your magic bullets?
- Have you funded founders with non-traditional backgrounds or missions dedicated to folks living in poverty or providing access to upward mobility?
- How has your approach changed from your time as an angel to now your experience as a VC ?
- Do you have any good stories or learnings from Naval?
- Prior to FF you were an early stage investor in successful companies like Uber, Postmates, PayPal at others... I know you invest alongside Scott... who started angel investing?
- What was your early approach to angel investing and how were you able to source and select such iconic tech companies at very early stages?
- Can you tell us a bit about Founder's Fund and your focus? Stage, Sectors, Geographies?
- "The most promising companies tend to share a few characteristics: They are not popular. They are difficult to assess. They have technology risk, but not insurmountable technology risk. If they succeed, their technology will be extraordinarily valuable. We have no idea what these companies might look like, only that they probably will share these characteristics. Entrepreneurs often know better than we do what might be enormously valuable in the future." -- It's a very humble approach and one that resonates with me and many others. Can you elaborate on the thesis and characteristics of founders that are the best fit for Founders Fund?
- What's your take on the prevalent number of VCs that remove CEOs of their portfolio companies, on average, within three years of investment?
- What's your take on contrarian vs. conformist investing... first, how do you even determine what is contrarian and then what's your take on how each ties to performance?