Paul Martino (Bullpen Capital) – What it Means to be a Contrarian Investor, The Arbitrage Opportunity at Post Seed, and Founders That Have Chips On Their Shoulders

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Our guest today is Paul Martino, Managing Partner of Bullpen Capital, an early-stage, post-seed venture fund investing in technology companies that have been funded by super-angels and institutional seed funds. Some of their portfolio companies include FanDuel, Namely, Ipsy.

Prior to founding Bullpen, Paul was a serial entrepreneur of companies including Ahpah Software (a computer security firm acquired by InterTrust); Tribe (one of the world’s first social networks), and Aggregate Knowledge (a big data advertising attribution company acquired in 2014 by Neustar). He is the holder of over a dozen core patents covering social networking and big data.He was also an active angel investor and personally invested in the first rounds of Zynga, TubeMogul, and uDemy.

One book that impacted Paul professionally is Play Bigger by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, and Christopher Lockhead. One book that impacted him personally is The Burden of Bad Ideas by Heather MacDonald

In this episode you will learn:

  1. Why Paul became an entrepreneur? Why he ended up on the other side of the table and switched to venture capital? Why it’s important for investors to have operational experience? 
  2. Why investing at the post seed stage is an arbitrage opportunity? What are some of the challenges when investing in consumer vs. enterprise?
  3. Should founders be aware of signaling risk? What should founders be asking venture capitalists that are looking to invest? What is his diligence process and how does he analyze founders and opportunities? When should a founder switch from optimizing to profitability from growth? What makes the Philadelphia ecosystem interesting?
  4. One thing you would change when it came to venture capital? How does he feel about the cold email? What his latest investment is and why he’s excited about it? One piece of advice for founders of consumer companies

You are welcome to follow along behind the scenes @mikegelb and @consumervc.

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