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Feb 01

It’s not science. It’s success in quadrant 2 with Adam Carver from angellist

It’s not science. It’s success in quadrant 2

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Adam Carver’s life experiences led him to the place where he is now, as an owner/operator with AngelList. One decision in another direction could’ve turned his career onto a completely different course. As he navigated his way through the investing world, he picked up insightful observations about how it works.

1-This is really an art. It’s not a science.

2- All of us have the same general principles: potential for fat margins, a big growing market, great founding team.

Because of the first observation, the second one becomes a bit more complicated.

Every opportunity, Carver explained goes into one of four quadrants:

Quadrant 4: You’re enamored with a product, the team is great and it meets all the criteria: High potential and innovative idea. You’re going to do that deal every time. But they’re rare.

Quadrant 2: Love founding team but unsure of product.

Quadrant 3: Obsessed with the product, but unsure of founding team.

Quadrant 1: Unsure of team and not excited by the product.

“I had companies that I love the team and not the product. Others where I love the founders, not the product. No way to really anticipate it at the seed stage.” That’s when the art comes in and those intangibles. The quandary is there aren’t many opportunities in quadrant 4. Most successes come in quadrants 2 or 3.

What Adam prioritizes between those two quadrants is character attributes of the most appealing teams:

– recognize their own assumptions

 -raise enough money for 24 months

-a business model with high enough margins doesn’t have to be high volume at onset to make pennies on dollar and get to cash flow on month to month basis.

-entrepreneurs have urgency to get to state where they’re not reliant on venture capital

In the end, having strict rules and overanalyzing options misses the point of investing at this level.


“You’re buying risk. This is a game built on uncertainty and you can’t win that if you don’t play.”

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