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19 Lessons From Andrew Braccia (Partner @ Accel)

Andrew Braccia is a partner at Accel.

 

Similar to last week’s featured investor, Andrew lives under the radar. He has little-to-no online presence, and he rarely does speaking events. Most of the what you can find written about him is from several years ago.

 

Despite being hard to find, his track record speaks for itself.

 

He’s led investments into companies like Slack, Squarespace, and Anchor among others.

 

Here are some of our favorite lessons, quotes, and additional reading from studying Andrew.

Andrew Braccia (Accel)

Lessons

  • Capital is commoditized. Investors need to compete on other aspects in order to win deals.

 

  • Venture capital is becoming a race to form relationships with entrepreneurs earlier and earlier in their life cycle. How can you add value to a founder before it comes time to invest in them?

 

  • Generational transition is an issue within any fund. Nobody wants to think about succession until it’s too late.

 

  • Look for application-oriented use cases for any investment. There are too many investors chasing deals because of FOMO.

 

  • Over-indexing on a presentation is the wrong way to evaluate opportunities. You have to meet with founders in order to get their perspectives and learn about their unique insights.

 

  • Track record > media presence. Andrew has no audience. He’s also invested in multiple unicorns. 

 

  • Storytelling should be your greatest strength as a founder or fundraiser. The better you are at crafting the story, the more luck you produce.

 

  • Develop a chip on your shoulder early in your career. Too many people reach an arbitrary title and coast. This leads to stagnation and later regret.

 

  • Universities are the starting point for startup ecosystems. Students must become comfortable with taking risks before being steered to safe jobs.

 

  • You have to be willing to fail and test your emotions on things in order to move forward and improve. Thick skin is a superpower.

 

  • Some of the best founders are those that are design-obsessed. Airbnb is probably the most famous example of this.

 

  • You have to be an optimist in startup world. Investing in illiquid assets is irrational. You have to believe the future looks much brighter than the future.

 

  • Make a pitch as engaging as possible so you create opportunities for shared dialogue and questions. People like being talked with more than they like being talked at.

 

  • Being a contrarian has its downsides. If you bet on the wrong market, you have no chance to be right.

Quotes

"You should never run away from something. You should run towards something in your career."

"There is no more competitive business than the venture capital business."

"Chance favors the prepared mind."

"The best entrepreneurs have bespoke stories around the problem they are solving."

"I focus 75-80% of my time evaluating the team. Everything else will take care of itself."

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