December 1, 2021 | Company Building

Our Ambition: Best Supporting Actor

Greg Sands

Written by

Greg Sands

Costanoa Ventures team – 2021

“Best Supporting Actor.” Likely not the award most people dream about. But at Costanoa we think it’s a venture firm’s highest aspiration.

We are privileged to partner with and support the best people in the world as they innovate, build and solve some of the world’s most significant problems. If we do our job right, we play an essential, but not central, role in their journey. 

Supporting founders in this way has been our goal since Costanoa was founded almost ten years ago, and it’s why we’re pleased to announce today that we’ve closed our two most significant funds to date: Fund IV at $225m and Opportunity Fund II at $115m. While fund announcements are a dime a dozen these days and our boutique fund sizes don’t make headlines, this capital lets us continue our work with the next generation of amazing founders in Enterprise and FinTech. And that’s what’s exciting to us.

It’s important in these moments to reflect on how we got here. A few things stand out in this context:

  • Founders are – and have always been – at the center of our firm and our work. Especially in the early days, they took a bet on us as much as we took a bet on them. We’ll always be grateful for their choice and their confidence. We strive to be the most useful venture capital firm a founder has ever seen, and I see us delivering on that in ways big and small every day.
  • It’s been a team effort. We’ve continually pushed the boundaries of our expertise and our capabilities, learning new skills and adding new talent. Mark Selcow drove the creation of our FinTech practice, which is now core; Amy Cheetham has helped further expand it into Emerging Markets. We’ve made five investments in DeFi/Crypto/Web3 companies this year, including two we incubated. Our operating team’s capabilities and the learning community they’ve created are critical in our ability to deliver on our brand promise.  
  • The community we’ve created is broad and deep. We recently held our first face-to-face CEO Summit in two years, and I was struck by the rich array of conversations around the room — from long-time entrepreneurs mentoring brand new ones, to old friends from different industries sharing their wisdom, to just the energy, connections and fun that can only happen in person, which we’ve all missed.
  • And last, but definitely not least, our LPs win the award for Best Supporting Actor for the Best Supporting Actor. They “staked” us to our first Opportunity Fund in 2018 and re-upped on the second in order to broaden our value proposition to founders. Their steady support through the ups and downs of the pandemic let us invest steadily throughout, in some cases doubling down during the darkest days on investments that are now paying dividends (figuratively if not yet literally). We are truly grateful, as we couldn’t do this work without them. 

This is just one more step in a much longer journey. We can accomplish great things together. Your Best Supporting Actor is ready and waiting in the wings.