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12 Lessons from Ben Ling (Founding GP @ Bling Capital)

Ben Ling (@bling0) is the GP and founding partner at Bling Capital. He was previously a GP at Khosla Ventures, and prior to that he held senior positions at Google, YouTube, and Facebook. Over the course of his career, he has backed 19 unicorns including companies like Square, Palantir, and Gusto. Here are some of the lessons we learned from studying Ben and his career.

Ben Ling (@bling0) is the GP and founding partner at Bling Capital.

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He was previously a GP at Khosla Ventures, and prior to that he held senior positions at Google, YouTube, and Facebook. Over the course of his career, he has backed 19 unicorns including companies like Square, Palantir, and Gusto.

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Here are some of the lessons we learned from studying Ben and his career.

Ben Ling (Founding GP @ Bling Capital)

Lessons from Ben Ling

  • You find who’s actually invested when things don’t go according to plan. When the Dot Com bubble burst, the serious people kept building. The same things is happening today.
  • Winners are made by being able to bet when others aren’t willing to bet. Contrarian investing is a dying art, but it’s where all the money is made.
  • Many markets aren’t actually winner-take-all markets. Sometimes you can have multiple winners in a given space.
  • The better you can exercise pricing discipline, the more shots on goal you can take. Founders that prioritize valuation over everything else will scare off the investors they actually want to take money from.
  • Unreasonable valuations remove optionality. Both from a future investment perspective and from an exit perspective.
  • Choosing investors should feel like choosing your team. Diluting your shares feels worth it when you partner with the right people, and it feels like robbery when you don’t.
  • Trends are more important when you invest in consumer. Businesses are predictable; humans are not.
  • Conventional wisdom is usually wrong. Before Amazon, people wouldn’t store their credit card online.

Quotes

β€œIf you want to work with a person, you need to understand what that person stands for.”

β€œOnce a lead is identified, everybody else wants to follow.”

β€œProven operators demand a premium.”

β€œDifferent types of LPs like different types of risk exposure.”

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