May 1, 2024

Introducing HPVP Fund IV

Introducing HPVP Fund IV

Today Hyde Park Venture Partners we announced our fourth fund, HPVP Fund IV (read our press release here).

Shortly after we closed our first fund in 2012, my partner, Ira, and I visited a storied venture fund on Sand Hill Road. We had decided to meet grown up VCs to get their advice (and pitch them on a few of our early investments!). The non-descript yet distinguished horizontal office complex would be immediately familiar to any entrepreneur who has made the rounds out there - an address powerful and intimidating in its mundaneness.

I don’t remember anything about the conversation, but I remember the 3pm light at 30 degrees through the window, refracting on scattered dust particles. The office was modern - or what would have been considered modern in the early 00s - light wood paneling, beige carpet and the accompanying barrelled scent of wood and polyester you would expect. It was dead quiet - the carpet absorbing any errant noises - and on the window sill below the light sat nearly a dozen “tombstones” heralding that fund’s thirty years of fundraising success. The partner with whom we were meeting seemed surprised but expectant, like the Grail Knight in Indiana Jones. Like the knight, it all seemed a bit ancient and wholly unapproachable.

This trip was formational in our approach to being a venture fund… to being the business that is a venture fund. We did get a lot of great advice, and of course we ignored most of it because we needed to learn for ourselves! But we did quickly realize that we wanted to be approachable venture capital. We were a tiny $25M fund; we had no brand; I had no experience (Ira did). What did we have to sell? Put simply, we would meet with anyone and listen to their story. We were approachable and responsive, answering cold emails, fielding, scheduling and attending every meeting ourselves. This was quite a difference from the required warm introduction and multiple assistant email volleys that had eventually landed us in the Sand Hill mausoleum.

13 years later, this perspective remains the same. While our team is larger - we now have four partners and two VPs - we still answer cold emails, schedule meetings ourselves and spend a lot of partner time writing outbound emails to founders we want to meet. For the hundreds of founders we’ve worked with, we are usually the first investor or board member to reply to an email or pick up the phone - really, ask them. The idea of a portfolio company waiting on us for something is torturous. We are approachable and responsive.

However, we are certainly not perfect. Our curiosity can border on incisiveness, and our edges are a bit angular. Fortunately, most of our CEOs will tell you that this comes from a place of care and now even a bit more experience than in our first fund.

The last 13 years has been a remarkable time to be in this industry, especially since we announced our third fund. We saw the pandemic up and down, Web 3 boom and bust, banking crisis and now the rise of Gen AI… all in four years. Wowza. Moreover, we lived it second by second on phones, social apps and zoom. Change is nothing new, but today we live macro events vividly in the moment as participants. Whether good or bad, it is often a distraction. Amidst all of this, great entrepreneurs are confidently focused on building their business: launching software, hiring talent and keeping customers happy. That really is the constant. Like them, we are focused too.

Somewhere right now, there is a pre-seed team hatching its next idea. We want to meet them.