Anthony Pompliano

Managing Partner at Full Tilt Capital

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 31, 2017

Discussion

Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
I'm an early stage investor focused on pre-seed & seed stage. I did 50+ deals in last 12 months and am industry / location agnostic. Previously ran Product & Growth teams at large tech companies after two startup exits. Excited to talk about all things investing, product, industries, growth analytics, and futuristic tech.
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
What's the most recent app you've downloaded?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@ayrton Many of them are companies we invested in that aren't public yet. The last public one was HQTrivia. The product is well done and it was built at the right time. I'm interested to see what happens once the novelty wears off. I already expecting a bunch of knockoffs to follow quickly in different verticals (music, sports, etc).
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hey Pomp thanks for joining us! What growth tips can you share with us today? Are they are any growth strategies that are often overlooked by founders and product managers that can have a big impact?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@ems_hodge Everyone wants a magic bullet - there isn't one. You have to put in the work to talk to your users, design scientifically sound tests, gather data, and iterate on your product or service. Growth is merely a race against time - the company doesn't shut down because you failed, but merely because you didn't figure out the correct formula before you ran out of money or energy.
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What's your top fundraising tips for founders?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@jacqvon Build the best company in your industry. Investors will find you -- it is literally our job. This should be commonsense but I'm surprised how many people forget it. You become the best by building things that users or customers want, while also figuring out how to drive a sustainable business model to profitability. The days of endless venture capital funding are over for majority of founders. You have to build real companies with cash-flow and profitability again.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What's your daily routine?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@jakecrump I wake up really early (430a) and try to beat the day before everyone else wakes up. If I can get the day's top 3 priorities accomplished quickly, I can spend the rest of the day doing whatever makes me happiest in the moment.
Abadesi@abadesi · 👩🏽‍💻 Product Hunt | Hustle Crew | NTT
Hey Anthony, thanks for your time. What's the best career advice you've ever received and how did this impact you?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@abadesi I received two pieces of advice when I first moved to Silicon Valley - (1) keep your personal burn rate as low as possible so you can optimize for optionality and (2) you will be rewarded more for taking large swings at hard problems than you will be rewarded for achieving small-scale success. This advice from Ben T Smith IV was great then and still holds true today.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Welcome, Pomp! You've done a ton of deals in a short amount of time. What's your decision-making process and how much diligence do you typically do?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@rrhoover We invested in over 50 deals in the first 12 months of our fund. This appears to be a lot to most investors but the pace & strategy is driven by data. Only one thing is correlated to outsized returns if you look at the last 35 years of venture data - being early in the best deals. Traditional venture capital debates around check size, follow on decision making, etc can make a good deal great but they can't make a bad deal good. Since we invest at the earliest stages of a business, there is very little traditional diligence. The lack of diligence is driven by the fact that there is little to no data available. Instead, our focus is on vetting and identifying entrepreneurs who have the probability of building large, successful companies. The number one indicator for potential success is persistence in my opinion. Obviously this is hard to measure quantitatively so we spend a lot of time doing untraditional diligence to get signal on how persistent someone will be in their quest to change the world.
Seth Williams@sethbwilliams · Designer, Product Hunt
What industries are you most excited by right now?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@sethbwilliams I like things that other people don't. Embeddable technology - I believe we will live in a world where machines are embedded in our brains, heart, bloodstream, eye, feet, etc. The technology (nor regulation) is anywhere close to ready for mass adoption but advancements are being made quickly. Blockchain - The cryptocurrency world is frothy and highly unregulated at the moment. This will spell disaster for many projects, specifically the inordinate amount of ICOs that appear to be conscious attempts to get rich quick. If you look past the hype though, the underlying technological advancements are very real. Additionally, the new incentive structures (cryptoeconomics) are most interesting to me because it fundamentally changes how humans will behave / interact with tech. Life sciences - People shouldn't be dying so early and often. We need to push more of our smartest minds to work on human health. If we can extend and improve life, so many other benefits will follow. It feels like ML/AI will have the largest impact here in short term but I expect advancements in nanorobotics, etc to eventually drive inflection points in human evolution. Space - We have to get the hell off Earth at some point. This is a missionary type obsession for me, rather than a capitalist one. I wish that there was more public - private partnership happening in an effort to accelerate our progress in the industry. The secondary interests to me are new space applications for manufacturing, zero-gravity testing, etc. The next 20 years will drastically affect the trajectory we have moving forward.
Zach Forbes@zgforbes · CEO @ celldom, inc
@sethbwilliams @apompliano In Life Sciences, are you making any bets in Genomics and what has been challenging in evaluating companies beyond the persistence of the founders relative to vetting their vision?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@sethbwilliams @zgforbes life sciences is really hard because at the end of the day, the molecules do what you want them to or they don't. We spend more time vetting these companies than most - two that I'm really excited about are OH2 Laboratories and Biolinq. They're both making great progress and will improve human's lives if successful.
Felix Orwa @fichalla@felorwa · Founder/CEO Sote inc getsote.com
Hey Pomp - fancy rap name by the way and nice chatting earlier. As a company who's incorporated and raised seed $ in SV/US, but whose operations will be in Africa, double taxation is a possible issue, besides accounting challenges. At what stage should such a company consider move parent abroad to a place like Mauritius if wholly interested in raising Series A..etc from SV/US? And did this factor in your Nigerian investment?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@felorwa I'm not a lawyer so don't have right answer. However, I know that many African nations are ripe for tech innovation and disruption. As more founders focus their energy there, expect to see an acceleration in funding across the continent.
Felix Orwa @fichalla@felorwa · Founder/CEO Sote inc getsote.com
@apompliano Thanks for that. I'm one of those founders focusing my energy here :) I read your response to Ryan about persistence. I believe my cofounder Meka and I have quite the story for you in that regard. Being that we just confirmed two investors for our pre-seed (finalizing terms this week) and were looking for two more (one of whom we are in conversations with), we'd love the opportunity to speak with you. Is this something we could arrange with you in the next days/week(s)? p/s I've noticed my avatar and name here are different from twitter @fichalla
Alexandre Mouriec@mrcalexandre · CS @ IUT Lannion | Side-projects Lover
You said you are industry agnostic so you probaby have to learn about the industries you are unfamiliar with. How do you do that ? Do you try to learn a little everyday or do you plan uninterrupted sessions during the week to dive into an industry ?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@mrcalexandre I let founders take me where they're interested. Venture capital is the best job in the world - the smartest people are incentivized to spend time with me to teach me about the problems they're tackling. It is more enjoyable for me to listen to a founder talk passionately about a field, go off and do my own research, and then come back for a lively debate about what we agree/disagree on, along with areas where I have a lack of understanding.
Stuart Powell@stuartpowe11 · Growth @ TransLoc
@apompliano I used to do a lot of due diligence for private equity firms regarding healthcare acquisitions. Let me know if you need any assistance in that field.
Polina Marinova@polina_marinova · deputy editor, Fortune Magazine
What are some good resources to learn more about crypto/blockchain?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@polina_marinova Buy Bitcoin :) In all seriousness, this guide from Coindesk is one of the best: https://www.coindesk.com/informa...
Allen lee@allenleein · Founder of Gargantua
How to raise capital from you as a technical solo founder?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@allenleein I'm not a big fan of solo founders. Building a startup is incredibly difficult and there are many stages of a founder's psychological evolution. The highs and lows are hard to navigate alone. This is the main reason why I'll almost never invest in a single founder, no matter how talented they are.
Allen lee@allenleein · Founder of Gargantua
@apompliano Thanks for replying. So you were saying you were not gonna invest Mark Zuckerberg 13 years ago? Elon Musk?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@allenleein Neither of them were solo founders.
Allen lee@allenleein · Founder of Gargantua
I will prove you wrong :)
Khalif@khaliphj · Founder www.hiresquid.com
What's the one thing you do daily that keeps you motivated?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@khaliphj I don't do anything that keeps me motivated necessarily. I think motivation comes from deep within someone - they either care about making something happen or they don't. If you need to trick yourself into being motivated daily than you should probably go do something else.
Michelle Wauman@michelle_wauman · Head of Marketing at Jellifin
Hi Anthony, do you think tech money can expand to the south?
Michelle Wauman@michelle_wauman · Head of Marketing at Jellifin
Follow up: How does one allude money from silicon valley without being a company in a larger city? We have managed to grow rapidly and keep overhead low by not being in a large city.
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@michelle_wauman It's 2017 - nobody cares where you're located. If you build the best company in your industry, investors will be fighting each other to invest. In my experience, location is the default excuse from people who aren't intellectually honest with themselves about whether they're the best in their industry or not.
Michelle Wauman@michelle_wauman · Head of Marketing at Jellifin
@apompliano You mentioned earlier identifying great founders can be an issue. Personally, how do you feel when you miss out on an opportunity that becomes something great?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@michelle_wauman I obviously wish that I would have invested but don't beat myself up about it. If I make the best decision at any given time based on the information that I have, there is nothing else I can do.
Michelle Wauman@michelle_wauman · Head of Marketing at Jellifin
@apompliano What are your thoughts on commission free options trading?
David Yo@gradx · Software architect by trade
Is bootstrapping to target only iOS enough to establish PMF and how will investors view this?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@gradx Impossible for me to answer this without more information. Just build things that people want and you won't have to seek investors, they'll be knocking down your door.
Nathan Barnett@flpalmdev · CEO @ Swarmify
What 1 thing would you say founders care too much about that ends up being meaningless to their success?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@flpalmdev Press. Funding. Downloads. Awards. Basically the only thing that matters is cashflow and profitability. You can get away without it for awhile but when the music stops, you either have it or you don't. Too many founders are going to be in for a rude awakening when the VC funding stops flowing.
Alexandre Mouriec@mrcalexandre · CS @ IUT Lannion | Side-projects Lover
Is there an industry that you completely discovered since you began investing ?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@mrcalexandre I don't know if I discovered new industries but I definitely have a much better understanding of many. The one that is probably the weirdest is "brain freezing" where a number of researchers and founders are working to freeze a human brain with 100% structural integrity. This has been done with a pig and rabbit brain, but we're still far off from human-sized brains.
Alexandre Mouriec@mrcalexandre · CS @ IUT Lannion | Side-projects Lover
@apompliano Thanks for answering my question Wow that's looks so promising but at the same time so futuristic 😱 I am going to read about brain freezing to learn more.
Zach Forbes@zgforbes · CEO @ celldom, inc
Hey Pomp - do you see more Silicon Valley money coming to North Carolina or the South at large? Has HB2 affected this negatively by your perspective?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@zgforbes Who cares. Build a massive, successful business and then laugh at every investor who didn't invest. Success is the best revenge. Too many founders are spending time worrying about "regions" "politics" and "funding trends" when they should instead be focused on "customers" "users" and "revenue."
Go Hunt America@america_hunt
Not really a question but a thank you! I had the pleasure of talking to Pomp in person, my sister and I drove to New York from Delaware to meet him at an event he was putting on for founders. Pomp was extremely gracious with his time and advice. We stopped seeking investment and have finally finished our product with 0 outside investment. Everyday we keep chopping wood and gaining new customers. Thanks to Pomp we stopped chasing investment cash and built our app on our own.
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
Chris Moudy@chris_moudy · CEO Heavy Onion Inc.
Would you invest in a point of reception secure unattended delivery unit built in your home to receive from all clients on a platform ~ Restaurants, groceries , e-commerce and more + temp control for perishables? or a door lock from one company like Amazon ~ I am building it with patent now. Is this a start up worth looking into ?
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano@apompliano · Founder/Partner, Morgan Creek Digital
@chris_moudy I would challenge you to think about whether this was the hardest problem that you could work on? If you're super passionate about building reception units, you should build the best reception unit in the world. If you think you can impact humanity in bigger way doing something else, go do that thing.
Chris Moudy@chris_moudy · CEO Heavy Onion Inc.
@apompliano Been at it 15 + years with patent legal +++ Round A ~ seeking working partner. +Prototypes in California
Chris Moudy@chris_moudy · CEO Heavy Onion Inc.
@apompliano So selling the service with a superior security and Intellectual property will not help humanity in a better way? Sometimes there is more below the surface than one can see.