Investor Spotlight: First Round Capital, an early Uber backer that lives up to its name by Dana Olsen

TL;DR - Josh Kopelman is the founder of First Round Capital, a major seed-stage player in the venture capital industry. Also notable is the Dorm Room Fund started by First Round.

Helpfulness - 5

Tags - notable investors, seed vc

Questions addressed:

  • Who is Josh Kopelman?
  • What influence do Kopelman and First Round Capital have on the VC industry?
  • How does the firm structure its investments?

Summary:

  • Josh Kopelman is the founder of First Round Capital, widely known as the first institutional investor in Uber.
  • First Round Capital is one of the most well-known VC firms that invests at the earliest possible stages (seed rounds).
    • It is also the 6th-most active seed investor in the US.
  • Prior to founding the firm, Kopelman was a successful entrepreneur with several exits.
  • The firm also has a “Dorm Room Fund” focusing on seed funding for student founders.
  • First Round reserves 75% of its capital for follow-on fundings (counterintuitively, it invests more in early stage than seed stage rounds).
  • The firm is the lead investor in at least ⅔ of the seed rounds it participates in.
  • Average funding size is $1.5M, but round sizes range from $500,000 to $5M.
  • The firm aims to own 7.5% to 12.5% of a company after a seed round, with ownership increasing if it participates in follow-on funding.

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