Salisbury Ventures supports research-driven founders in finding product-market fit for their prototypes.
Since 2015 we have been meeting technical founders and been helping them to iterate on their prototypes for free.
With our portfolio companies we not only invest into them, but also spend 3h-5h per week with and supply them with other resources that they may need.
We are interested in
We invest in exceptional technical founder teams working on top of potential platform shifts - ahead of them showing any product-market fit.
In terms of potential platform shifts Salisbury Ventures is currently interested in:
- AI, but mostly text AI
There is a very popular argument that suggests the big (US and Chinese) internet platforms will essentially “own” multi-industry A.I. markets because “A.I. is an industry in which strength begets strength: The more data you have, the better your product; the better your product, the more data you can collect.” In our view
- this is true to a certain extent for application in image recognition, self-driving cars, speech-to-text, and basically anything where everyone tends to agree on the ‘right’ answer. But there is not always just one answer.
- If, however you are trying to build something new with ML, or learn something new about your data by applying it, then this is a completely different game. There will be many vertical winners.
- But even in specific vertcials, there's also many data types such as text which we "data network effects" VCs are keen on unfold in a very different way than generally talked about and we are very bullish about that.
You can read more about our related thoughts and observations in the article I linked to above.
- the rise of MPP databases such as Redshift
SV tool box - broad cohort testing - Very early on tech-intensive teams should not go for incremental changes. Instead we support you with testing various substantially different cohorts very quickly to get signs of 10x opportunities. We show you how to do this and then spend time with you doing it, week by week."
Grants & referrals to trusted accelerators such as TechStars & Y Combinators - We frequently refer companies we like. Referred startups in the past include goedle.io and trevormydata.com. We also invest ourselves and also help our portfolios to get additional grants to get the "traction" that validates your "deep" tech startup in the eyes of VCs.
Engagement model and how we de-risk our investments
At SV we don't accept pitch decks or Excel sheets that show traction. However, as every investor we have our own model to de-risk our investments. We invest in technical teams that show us signs that they can ship code fast to potential clients.
Monthly lunch - 1h/month
If you do anything which is interesting to us (such as AI or something interested with MPP databases) we are happy to go for lunch with you regularly.
SV has, on average, usually 7-9 startups at this stage it talks to each month.
Lunches & Initial Resources to help you prototype better, faster - 5h/month
Typically, at this stage, we understand your personas and use cases. Once we see you doing so much more, we are happy to give you access to some of our resources. We do this still for free #givefirst. The aim of this stage is to help you prototype better and quicker. We aim to learn with you and also see whether we are a fit to help you. If all parties agree that we are able to help, then this may morph into an Advisory relationship.
SV has, on average, usually 3-4 startups at this stage it talks to each month.
Portfolio - 3h to 5h per week
At some point we may bump up the relationship even more and invest into you alone or we even organise a whole round. Doing technical startups outside of the Valley is a little bit more difficult, though. When we came to Berlin in '10 we counted 16 resource types that were missing for technical startups with the list now down to 7. That's why spend a lot of time every week with you to compensate.
SV has, on average, usually 1-3 startups at this stage.
Case Study - Treev
Treev was a productivity plugin Alex and Alan worked on when we met them. Their initial view on product-market fit was that "Treev, similar to Dropbox, is for everyone." Together we did a user cohort analysis which identified 4 distinct user types and +10 user jobs. We then engaged in structured PMF process with over 200 user interviews across over 2 months.
The results were:
- A deep understanding that there was no market for Treev
- An founder team with a skill set and speed to iterate on future PMF