Atman Monthly Update — November 2022

Welcome to the first edition of our monthly updates.

If you are interested in receiving them as soon as they are published, you can sign up for our newsletter on Atman.vc at the bottom of our website.

Before we begin, we would like to thank you for your confidence and partnership. In such turbulent times, having your trust in our ability to generate alpha for your early-stage venture investments means a lot to us.

2023 will present remarkable investment opportunities, and we have adjusted our investment thesis to be in a prime position to capture alpha.

Our primary focus until the end of the year is three-fold:

  1. Provide support to our portfolio companies
  2. Continue our fundraising efforts
  3. Engage the Atman Egregore

After the short-lived lockdown-induced recession and the boom we observed in 2021, the market continues to take valuations to new lows weekly, and things have rippled through the private ecosystem.

Once we completed our first close, we were inundated with meeting requests. There is a sizable contingent of startups that have needed more operational discipline over the past 18 months and are trying to raise bridges to nowhere. We suspect that 60%+ of the startups in that position won’t be around 12 months from now.

Expensive rounds are still happening, and prices for Tier-1 pre-seed and seed companies continue to be around $8–20M. Our fund models the average valuation for our investments to be $15M.

Several of the large crossover funds we have relationships with are mostly looking internally or have pooled dedicated “early capital” to continue to find relationship access at any point, as they have the AUM for this type of play. VCs have internally ranked their existing portfolios and prioritized follow-ons on their best companies. Furthermore, every large firm has launched programs to compete against YCombinator at the earliest stages. Sequoia Arc and A16Z’s new investment program are vivid examples of this response. These firms are playing a different game than five years ago.

In October, we saw Snap, Meta, and Amazon lose almost a quarter of their market cap after dropping somewhere between 80–35% for the year. The median cloud software next twelve months (NTM) revenue multiple is at 5.0x, 36% below the long-term average.

Corrections of such magnitude are finally resetting psychological expectations for valuation, follow-on financing, and exits, eradicating the “grow as fast you can mentality.”

Our plan for capital deployment going forward

  1. Partner mostly with repeat entrepreneurs that fit our inevitable ethos

2. Invest in business models that have positive proof of evidence and won’t require a two-step process to find product-market fit

3. Understand if founders have a path to profitability at a reasonable scale

Bill Gurley recently mentioned that today might be as good a time as in a decade to start a new company. History is on his side, given that Dropbox, Github, Twitch, WhatsApp, Airbnb, Square, and Slack started right after 2008.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are interested in a catch-up call with our investment team.

Board Meeting

In early October, we held our first board meeting in San Francisco. A special thanks to our advisory board members, Vanessa Larco, Ilan Nissan, Frank Ghali, John Duffy, Allen Taylor, and Mike Hennessey. We appreciate your time and input as we build our firm.

Left to right: Pedro Dias, Frank Ghali, Allen Taylor, Ilan Nissan, Vanessa Larco, John Duffy, Pedro Sorrentino, Sarah Tulin, Mike Hennessey

New fund investment: Bamboo

A tech-enabled capital markets platform for Brazil that allows investors and originators to see and digest company data, organize on-demand roadshows and use data science to properly filter the highest caliber opportunities of the market in a single place. They are making the entire process more efficient, transparent, and credible.

Year of Foundation: 2021
Round: Seed
Co-Investors: GFC, Latitud
HQ: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Site

Egregore spotlight

Every month, we will highlight a new CEO that is a member of the Atman Egregore.

Please meet Doug Storf, Co-Founder and CEO at SWAP.

Mini-Bio:

Doug Storf is an entrepreneur and investor, born and raised in Brazil. He has an MBA from The Ross School of Business and a Mechanical Engineering degree from Escola Politécnica at USP. Currently, he is focused in building digital transformation for the fintech industry in Brazil, through SWAP, his current company.

How much have you raised for your current company?
$29M. We are post-Series A.

How many companies have you started?
Two, if you consider a pizza place that I had with my father in 2007 :-)

Feel free to add any other additional stats you would like to share:
I have made about ten investments as an angel or LP

What are you most excited about right now?
I’m most excited about the changes we are going through as a company. We have passed 170 employees and reached $10M in ARR. I am investing my time in building the correct organizational structure for all the challenges we are solving as a company.

What has been one of your biggest lessons so far in business?
By far, we are in this game to build a business and not do the next round. When you can create a good business with good fundamentals, the funding rounds become one tool for fueling growth and not an obligation.

What book(s) have changed/shaped your life?
Secrets of Sand Hill Road was instrumental in shaping how I deal with VC and understanding the incentives behind their decisions. Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud opened my eyes to some daily dynamics we don’t consider.

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be with and why?
Very relevant to what I’m doing today, I’d love to have dinner with Peter Thiel and learn his thoughts on how the payment industry is evolving and where it is going.

What do you believe to be true that you cannot prove?
As an intricate web of electrical wires, we sense magnetic fields produced by others, which dictates how we connect with others and react to different situations.

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