Quixotic Portfolio Returns


Early stage venture returns are definitely quixotic.  Impractical.  Idealistic even.  But thousands of us are chasing them. At the end of 2019, I reviewed the performance of my portfolio:

  • My Cash-on-Cash return is 10x in 13 years
  • My Realized+Unrealized gain is 13x in 13 years

My goal is to for Quixotic Ventures to grow value (R+UR Gains) by 1x per year.  🔥

How did I get to a 10x Cash-on-Cash return?  Twitter, various other exits and TheRealReal.  TheRealReal — the global leader in luxury consignment — went public in June 2019!  Hooray for my second IPO (Twitter was the first)!!  Wow, it takes a long time for these eggs to hatch.  At the close of the first day of trading, the company was valued at $1.6B.  I joined the board back in 2012 when the company was doing about $80,000 a month in GMV (sales on the platform).  At IPO, GMV was about $80,000,000.  Achieving 1,000x growth in 7 years was an amazing scaling experience… basically a double PhD in building a $Billion e-commerce business. The IPO was a proud and joyous moment for me, even beyond the great financial return.  I was thrilled to see a woman at the helm, over 50, join the ranks of female CEOs running public companies.  It doesn’t happen nearly enough and it was very exciting to see first-hand.  I have enormous respect for Julie Wainwright.  She is an internet giant. I was also excited to see the success of my former Linden Lab colleagues in the CMO and CTO roles at TheRealReal, and all the amazing team members that built this extraordinary company. 

Other portfolio highlights…

Offerup acquired US competitor LetGo, building a powerful combined company serving major US markets. Last time I checked the appstore, Offerup was the 7th most popular free shopping app right above Ebay and right behind Walmart, and Letgo was the 10th right above Target.  These companies, combined, have a powerhouse position in used goods.  Wow!  When I invested in Offerup in 2012, it had about 1,000 monthly active users in Seattle. Now the combination has more than 20 million monthly active users — 20,000x growth since launch.

In 2019, Refinery29 was acquired by Vice Media so now I own some Vice shares.  Vice gives me a very different perspective than my daily fare of the WSJ, NYT, WAPO and NPR. 😱 😲😀

Homelight, which raised $109M in 2019 has become a significant company using AI in residential real estate transactions to match sellers and brokers in value-adding ways.  You’ll hear more about Homelight in the future as I am super impressed with their growth.

SKTCHY made an interesting (and highly profitable) pivot.  SKTCHY picks the most popular artists from their community to create online courses for artists.  Although this offering is less than a year old, it is doing extremely well and the unit economics are fantastic.  Startups take grit, and Jordan — founder of SKTCHY — has been single-mindedly focused on profitable growth.

WherebyUs builds tools for content creators and media to grow and connect with engaged communities (and to monetize that connection).  I’m a big believer because this is the way forward for media.

Apptopia provides app publishers & developers access to app intelligence worldwide.

Blanket.ia helps companies book more demos – important in this B2B sales environment where in-person connections are rare.

Granify is nicely profitable.  Snapwire is motoring along.

I invested in three companies: 

  • Flourish offers seed-to-sale supply chain tracking for the CBD and Cannabis industries. This is my first investment in the Cannabis industry.  It fits my thesis of enabling ecommerce…in this case Cannabis-Commerce.  A big thanks to Krillion Ventures for the referral.
  • Mathison is the largest diversity recruiting network and platform, connecting diverse job seekers to organizations that value equity and inclusion.
  • Remoov picks up, sells and donates or recycles all your unwanted items. Goodbye clutter hello relief!  This is my 5th investment in the used goods space.

Fame and HYP3R closed shop — which happens in the venture world. The founders of both companies are go-getters so I expect great things from them in future endeavors.

2 thoughts on “Quixotic Portfolio Returns

  1. Hello Mark! Great read along with your post “How I Do What I Do”. As a Miami startup, may I ask if your actively reviewing new opportunities? If so, how can we submit our information for review?

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