6 years ago, a mysterious Tumblr site appeared on the internet. It had no branding, or slick design, or any indication of who was behind it. The site simply spelled out a hypothesis that founders needed a new kind of startup funding option for building independent, venture-scale companies. The site went on to propose an experiment that included a new investment structure and a community of like-minded founders.
The reaction was immediate and the site spent the next few days nested at the top of Hacker News.
That post generated hundreds of applications that turned into 8 companies that received investment. 6 years later, each of those initial 8 is still in business with many of them generating 7 and 8 figures in revenue.
In addition to the investments, the post kicked off an extended conversation about how who, and what gets funded by traditional venture capital and the need for funding options that sit between bank loans and blitzscaling. Being part of that conversation has been incredibly rewarding.
But it has come at a cost.
We’ve not been shy in sharing the challenges of departing from the well-known narratives of startups and VCs. 4 years ago, it cost us 80% of our LP base. Unfortunately, as we’ve sought to lean more aggressively into scaling our investments and ideas behind an “Indie Economy” we’ve not found that same level of enthusiasm from the institutional LP market.
This is not intended to be a pity party; rather, a public acknowledgment that the initial Indie experiment has come to an end.
After funding nearly 40 Indie.vc companies, we will not be accepting or making any further Indie investments at this time.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done as investors, brand builders, and movement makers. We love Indie! The founders we’ve funded, the Scouts we’ve recruited, the products we’ve shipped, the impact we’ve had. All of it! I have no doubt that in 4–5 years we’ll see our Indie companies posting comparable results as our previous funds that have generated 5x+ net multiples for our LPs.
That said, without the institutional support to scale the Indie Economy we envision, it’s time to take our learnings and refocus on other strategies within the portfolio to deploy our capital.
To our friends, founders, Scouts, and supporters- thank you. It’s been an honor to write this chapter of our careers alongside you. Maybe we’ll get the band back together to take another run at the Indie opportunity down the road.
But today, it’s time to turn the page and begin writing the next chapter.