Season 2, Ep. 10: Investing in Talent and Drive with VC Semil Shah of Haystack

“I’m obsessive by nature … and when I meet someone that’s 100X of that in their own thing, but they’re also good at what they do, I feel very lucky.” Venture capitalist Semil Shah is looking for entrepreneurs with a combination of talent and drive, who out-class others in what they do and prioritize their obsession with building an enterprise.

Semil is an investor and writer based in Silicon Valley who created a small fund called Haystack. He has been an early investor in 70-plus companies such as Instacart, DoorDash, Hired, and OpenDoor. Semil is also Venture Partner with GGV Capital, and he was named to the 2017 Midas Brink List by Forbes. He fell into venture capital through his work as a writer and consultant to several firms on Sand Hill Road, including General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins and GGV Capital.

Today we discuss the attributes of Semil’s writing that led VCs to utilize his work as a resource and current themes in the world of venture capital and entrepreneurship. Semil shares his early investing experience, what gets him pumped about financing a project, and how he applies the Saturday 2pm Test to potential investments. Listen in to understand Semil’s take on the role of seed capital versus series A money and his advice for up-and-coming VCs.

Semil's Blog:
SoftBank Vision Fund:
Fred Wilson's Blog:
Sequoia Scouts:
Andy Johns on Twitter: