Tuesday Mar 19, 2024

Episode 4 | Fundraising from both sides of the table with Jorge Torres (CEO/co-founder, MindsDB) and Vijay Reddy (AI Start investor, Mayfield)

Jorge Torres (CEO, co-founder, MindsDB) and Vijay Reddy (AI Start investor, Mayfield) were the first two people I interviewed for Fund/Build/Scale. 


We met up at Jorge's office in San Francisco's Mission District on a rainy Friday afternoon in November 2023. We spent time discussing the ins and outs of pitch tactics and investor outreach, but we also talked about the criteria VCs use to evaluate zero-day investments, which red flags investors and founders both need to look out for, and how to find a VC to partner with for the next decade (not just the next funding round). 


Jorge has been through the fundraising process three times and Vijay is an experienced seed investor, so I was glad to talk to them both about fundraising from both sides of the table.


Here's a breakdown of our conversation:

  • How Jorge and Vijay assess team quality (2:28)
  • Vijay: "We don't do spray-and-pray." (4:06)
  • Founders need to de-risk themselves before pitching (5:21)
  • Jorge's three key questions for early-stage teams (7:14)
  • Why you don't need a demo, customers or revenue to pitch (9:59)
  • Founder red flags that turn off investors (14:12)
  • How to recognize seed-stage investors who actually add value (15:55)
  • When it comes to accepting early funds, be strategic (18:43)
  • Don't focus on TAM, just find clear pain points in large markets (22:03)
  • "If you're close to something that makes sense... don't wait too long to show it to an investor."
  • (23:41)
  • How early-stage AI startups can avoid extinction-level events (25:44)
  • You can't build a strategic moat without real-world data (27:55)
  • Technical founders should team up with nontechnical co-founders (29:56)
  • Closing a seed round: how long should it take? (31:32)
  • How much runway does an AI startup need? (34:05)




Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield and Securiti.

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