Blacktop Ventures LLC is a family office investing in seed and early-stage startups. We predominantly look for opportunities in the San Francisco Bay area, but have also kept a keen eye on the developing startup ecosystem in Germany for family reasons.
Our primary goal is be a value-add investor whenever possible and appropriate. To enable that, we’ve fostered a strong network of experts and trusted advisors in various industries, domains and locations. We think we’re pretty smart, but we are also smart enough to know that we’re not the expert in every area, so we leverage our network to make whatever intros are helpful. Or we can be a silent investor if that’s best. Whichever provides maximum value.
Our subject matter expertise varies and we like to lean on co-investors and/or domain experts for diligence. In-house we have strong knowledge of mobility, automotive, blockchain and marketplaces, and we’re exploring a few new focus areas to potentially launch soon.
Personally, my background is in telecom equipment, social gaming and fintech, all with a keen eye on building defensible long-term platforms, solving deep technology challenges and ultimately creating strategic IP for the business.
We take a diverse approach to deal sourcing and execution, choosing to invest directly, via debt or via SPVs. In our view of this business, we believe financial engineering is not the determinant of success in the early stage venture game. We therefore always strive to have standard deal terms where the incentives are correctly aligned and which involve as little deal-specific legal work as possible, preferably none at all.
Lastly, if you happen to see a seemingly unrelated post about cars or racing on our blog, don’t worry. It’s a major fascination of ours – hence the name “Blacktop” – so from time to time we’ll provide a diversion from regularly scheduled programming.