LA Venture Podcast


Mark Suster — Upfront Ventures

November 11, 2020

Series A

Mark Suster from Upfront explains why the best time to talk to founders about fundraising is 3-4 months after their last fundraise.  

He was kind enough to share that framework and others this week on LAV.

Full transcript

Today I have Mark Suster with me. I was planning to say that Mark is the best known VC in L.A., but there was a big announcement earlier this week. Until recently, Mark was the co managing partner with Yves Sisteron at Upfront. But as of this week, he is the co managing partner with Kara Nortman as well.

Mark, I'm pretty sure that the Kara announcement doesn't come as a big surprise to most people in L.A. Tech. But I will say it's a big deal to women in VC, it's a big deal for L.A. and I know it's a big deal for Upfront. So congratulations. Thank you very much.

I appreciate it. If I could just say briefly Minnie, you know, my observation about the industry. We know that just a few years ago, only seven percent of VCs were female, so. Ninety three percent were men. And it's an outrage that that lasted for so long and wasn't questioned earlier. I tell the story publicly. I called an LP almost a decade ago, and when I was first trying to recruit Kara and I told them is no longer an LP, but not for this reason.

But I told them I was looking at recruiting Kara and its first response was, I hope you're not hiring her just because she's a woman. You didn't even let me say what she did. And I said, OK, so Princeton undergrad, Stanford MBA, five years at Battery Ventures, credit card debt that IAC had an operating role where she helped run Citisearch. Now that I've told you she's more qualified on paper than me, she's more qualified on paper than Yves.

Can we just talk about, like, what she's good at in my own recruiter. But that's like the headwinds that we face. And then secondly, when you look at the great women of our industry, whether I look at Ailleen at Kleiner Perkins or even Mary Meeker. It seems somehow that women had their quit their firms and go raise their own funds in order to be in power.

And the model for our industry has got to be different. We've got to promote with them, because if you are in a fund that funds six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, we're like serious pools of capital are aggregated. You know, that's where women need to step up and have leadership roles. And I think more people in our industry are going to just have to get out of the way and help make that happen.

Kara is not only more qualified on paper, she's more talented than Yves I are.

And I just look, fifteen years from now when I look back and say, what did she achieve? I'm certain it will exceed anything we've done before.