It was 2013, and Chad Byers, co-founder and general partner at Susa Ventures, was looking for a company worthy enough to be the firm’s first investment. As detailed in an interview with Byers in Forbes, he was introduced by his brother to Robinhood’s founders Vladimir TEnev and Baiju Bhatt, wrote a check for $250,000, and watched his investment skyrocket to $400 million.
His firm takes on an advisor-peer relationship with companies they invest in from the seed stage, with involvement dropping off as the companies grow. As Byers says in the interview, “If you’re in the early-stage venture game, you’re…in a game of patience.” It can take years to know if something is a good investment, but he advises to continue backing companies you want to exist in the world, and then hope they work out.
Two other pieces of advice Byers outlines in the article are to dream big; “you can only lose 1x your money,” and to identify what the key risk is at every stage of a business. And when Robinhood had its huge GameStop moment in January? “I had a lot of feelings that week,” Byers says, adding “…we’re still in the infancy. These types of moments, as we provide more tools…across all finance in general, there are going to be some really interesting things that are going to happen that are going to be hard to predict.”