Anyone who gets my reporting preferences, knows that I love two things: covering startups based outside of the Bay Area and companies out to disrupt and shake up industries that sorely need innovation, but have been slow to adopt it.
So when I got wind of the investment thesis of a San Francisco-based firm, Builders VC, my ears perked up.
Jim Kim co-founded Builders VC two years ago with the mission of funding entrepreneurs largely operating outside of Silicon Valley.
By the end of 2017, Kim helped launch Builders VC as a continuation of the investment strategy he’d been working on at other firms.
For Kim, that special sauce was aiming to help entrepreneurs with their pain points with a sharp focus on companies in “nonsexy industries.”
Because these startups often are not as attractive to many mainstream investors, Builders often found itself being “the only VC interfacing with these companies.” Since so many of them have headquarters outside Silicon Valley, the firm’s partners spend a lot of time on the road in states such as Iowa and in the midwest in general, for example, Kim said.
Currently, Builders VC has about 30 companies in its portfolio, many of which it started backing at the seed stage.
To be clear, Builders VC is not the only venture firm focused on investing outside of the valley (which Kim, by the way, insists is not something his firm is opposed to).
As a reporter who is not based in Silicon Valley, but who used to be, I see the advantage in such a strategy.