Pete Flint has taken two companies through IPOs, as well as taking one through a $3.5B merger. Now he is heading up his own venture capital fund to help empower the next generation of founders.
During his appearance on the Dealmakers Podcast Flint talked about creating MVPs and fundraising, IPOs and M&A transactions, content and SEO, and assembling a team and $450M investment fund. Plus, the keys to getting through crises and tough periods in the economy.
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Seeing The Opportunities & Getting Through Challenging Times
Pete Flint was born and grew up just outside of London, in the UK.
His father was a professor, and his mother a school teacher. So, getting good grades was clearly expected and a necessity. That continued through going on to university to study physics.
His dad would bring home early computers. The big ‘PCs’. Intrigued by computers and seeing the internet revolution and Netscape going public, he began looking for related internships and summer jobs while in college.
He did stints at both IBM and JP Morgan. Quickly learning that he did not want to work for an investment bank, but definitely loved the internet.
During this time he was emailing all of the startups in the UK to find a role. There were only 17 of them at the time. Eventually, after raising some funding, the CEO of Lastminute.com brought him on board as a part of their founding team.
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Riding The Dot Com Bust & Starting A New Company
There Flint rode out the dot com boom and bust. They rose and scaled. Then hit the first internet bubble, followed by September 11th. It seemed like a tough time when no one wanted to get on a plane. Yet, their platform saw the opportunity to match hotels and airlines with many empty seats and rooms, with consumers looking for a great deal.
They saw the company go public within just 18 months of launching, to the stock diving 95%, to ultimately being acquired for $1B.
When it came to building his next company, Pete says that before they even sat down to write a line of code they worked on defining their values. He decided that if they were going to put 70 to 90 hours a week into this, they had better create a company they wanted to work in.
They not only wrote down their values, but what they were going to do to make sure they persist authentically in the organization. He says that investment in their company culture really enabled them to build a great team, and get through future tough periods, like 2008.
Taking The Company Through A $3.5B M&A Deal
After that first exit Pete had the opportunity to get into Stanford business school and move out to Silicon Valley.
He saw this as an opportunity to immerse himself in the top league of entrepreneurs, and broaden his knowledge of business. He found he was surrounded by amazing businesses, had lots of resources at his disposal, and time to consider his next move.
After his first year living on campus, he had to find his own place to live. He and five classmates started looking for somewhere to share. Yet, he was shocked at the lack of efficiency and technology to help in this process. There was Craigslist and local real estate agents, but at a time when companies like Google were going public on the back of their search engine, it seemed that there was a huge gap.
He dug into this problem, teamed up with a classmate, and found some computer science students to help start building a prototype.
His initial expectation was that the backend technology would be the hard part of building this business. A marketplace that would match all the housing inventory on the market with consumers looking to buy and rent. Yet, when they went out to pitch VCs with their idea and prototype, investors found the interface so ugly they rejected them.
It was when they invested in building out the front end, and making it pretty, and then started targeting angel investors with that, that everything changed on the fundraising front for them.
Building His Startup Trulia
Pete went on to raise $33M through several rounds, including bringing in Excel and Sequoia. Then when hitting more roadblocks in fundraising they launched a modest $500M IPO.
Several years later, when going head to head with Zillow, their startup Trulia ended up in a merger worth $3.5B.
Pete says that their features had become very similar, and they were both spending enormous amounts of money trying to out market each other. It just made sense to blend the companies together into a market leader.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Pete Flint was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Funding Founders To Build Market-Transforming Companies
Since leaving Trulia, Pete Flint has since co-founded NFX, a venture capital firm that has raised over $1BN to back pre-seed and seed stage startups.
NFX has been building a community of hundreds of thousands of founders around the content they’ve published at www.nfx.com, and other software tools to help them.
His firm NFX has been building a community of hundreds of thousands of founders around the article content they’ve been published, and other tech driven tools to help them.
They’ve also built out a team of very experienced investors who are former operators themselves. With a focus on funding network effect businesses.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- Building marketplace businesses
- Using SEO and content to build hyper-growth startups
- The NFX team