A Different Type of VC Firm with Eric Vishria from Benchmark
On this episode of FYI we welcome Eric Vishria, General Partner at Benchmark. Benchmark is a one-of-a-kind venture capital firm based in San Francisco, opting to operate with a small team of just 5 to 7 general partners and no junior partners or other team members. They have helped to bring to market iconic companies such as Twitter, SnapChat, DropBox and Uber! In our conversation, we talk about why he believes SaaS is larger than ever before. Eric makes a strong argument for low barriers to adoption over low barriers to entry. We talk about Benchmark’s recent investments in software and machine learning and get some insight into their work with Cerebras as its first investor! As a venture capital company that does not do a lot of PR, it is all the more exciting to have Eric as our guest to get a peek inside a true industry leader and trendsetter.
Key Points From This Episode:
- How Benchmark got started and the differences to typical venture capital firms.
- Day to day work at Benchmark; meetings, recruiting and maintenance.
- The roles at Benchmark and how the agreement processes play out.
- The rise of enterprise software and the relationship to infrastructure.
- How the lowering of barriers to adoption has influenced the market.
- Benchmark’s recent involvement with Confluent and Benchling.
- The company’s hesitation to get involved in life sciences and breaking this mold.
- Investments in AI development and the impact of deep learning on cybersecurity.
- How Benchmark became involved with Cerebras and backed them.
- Getting out of the PacMan world of deep learning and trying to imagine the future!
- Market-sizing and why the practices at Benchmark lean away from this.
- Public investment in SaaS companies and surprising growth in the market.
- The current Benchmarket portfolio and the excitement of finding special early-stage projects.