It was once a contrarian perspective to think a venture capital firm could survive outside of Silicon Valley. But Dana Settle moved to Los Angeles and tried it anyway.
On this episode of Office Hours, co-founder of Zillow and dot.LA Spencer Rascoff talks to Settle about the booming L.A. tech scene and her investment firm Greycroft.
Settle moved to L.A. from Silicon Valley in 2005. The venture community in the area was small then, but she felt the inklings of something promising. Startups like Cornerstone OnDemand and Userplane were growing and so were the kind of industries arriving in L.A.
While her time up north saw a rise in tech companies, Settle saw L.A. disrupting every industry as data and artificial intelligence changed the game.
“This is the second largest city in the country. [It] has every single industry and huge opportunities here across biotech, real estate, mobility, space — every single area that you can imagine,” said Settle.
As a founding partner at Greycroft and a member of its management committee, Settle is responsible for the firm’s investment strategy and vision. When it comes to looking for startups to invest in, it’s really about the founders for Settle.
She’s looking for someone not just with a vision, but the ability to attack great talent.
“It doesn’t mean you have to be like a total salesy extrovert or whatever. I mean, some of the best founders… are introverted. They have that crazy charisma that’s just soft spoken, and everybody just wants to go with them,” said Settle.
She also looks forward to seeing track records of success whether it was academic achievements or athletics. Any spark of success is valuable to Settle.
Within the last five years, Settle said that founders have gotten good at asking for higher demands. While they’ve met founders’ needs, the real investment to Settle is seeing Greycroft be referred to other startups.
“Our sort of first principle is that venture capital is a long-term repeat business. And if you believe that, then you know, all of your interactions with founders and everything that you do every day, ultimately should build your brand. It’s ultimately a referral business,” said Settle.
dot.LA Engagement Intern Joshua Letona contributed to this post.
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