Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in startups at Madrona and write the DL, a weekly newsletter about tech in the Pacific Northwest

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The Mike Speiser Playbook

Kevin Kwok published a fascinating blog post last week on Mike Speiser, the VC at Sutter Hill Ventures who started Snowflake. If you haven’t heard his name before, you should definitely read this article.


Here’s a quick summary of how Speiser’s model works:

  • Over the last 10 years, Speiser has incubated one company per year
  • His model is to find 2-3 cofounders and be the founding investor and interim CEO
  • Typically, he will meet with hundreds of potential founders before deciding who to incubate a company with
  • For these companies, he spends two days a week working on customer development, hiring the team, and fundraising
  • This allows him to focus on the early stages of company development and hire amazing CEOs when the companies reach certain milestones
  • The core of his strategy is identifying markets undergoing a major shift and going all-in on the transition (e.g., cloud data warehouses)
  • 20% of his investments have led to $1B+ outcomes
  • Despite that track record, Speiser is less well-known than other VCs because his firm is less focused on generating inbound deal flow


Pretty awesome. You can be sure the VC world is keeping a close an on what he is working on next!


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