Matias Serebrinsky, the co-founder of Cookunity and PsyMed Ventures, has had an intriguing journey from his birthplace in Argentina to leading two successful ventures in the United States.
His experiences as a founder and venture capitalist, coupled with his passion for mental health, have shaped him into a dynamic and innovative leader. His venture, PsyMed Ventures, has funded companies like Freedom Biosciences, Journey Clinical, and Delix Therapeutics.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Matias’ journey from Argentina to San Francisco
- His early career at Cookunity and Nvidia
- The creation of PsyMed Ventures
- His global approach to business and team building
- The future of PsyMed Ventures and its impact on mental health
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Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
About Matias Serebrinsky:
Mr. Matias Serebrinsky is a Co-Founder & serves as a General Partner at PsyMed Ventures. He is an investor, founder, operator, and startup ecosystem builder. He previously led NVIDIA Inception North America, a startup accelerator for AI companies. Before that, he co-founded CookUnity. He is the co-host of Business Trip.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So today. We have a very exciting founder that is joining us. You know as a founder that really understands both sides of the table. He has been a founder before he’s a founder now because a founder always a founder but now. Is definitely executing on the investment side of things. So again, you know his journey is quite inspiring and I can’t wait. You know for for this episode which is going to be quite exciting so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guest today Matthia Saidrski welcome to the show.
Matias Serebrinsky: Thank you Alejandra great to be here.
Alejandro Cremades: So originally born in Argentina so gisa walked through memory lane. How was life growing up there.
Matias Serebrinsky: I had an amazing time growing up in Argentina so I was born and raised in Argentina spent you know most of my twenty s in Argentina I moved here to to the us um, in my my late twenty s life was really good and it’s still really good i. And they are leaving a lot by chance. Not it wasn’t very well thought in the sense of I had a Java opportunity to move here to San Francisco and at that time I thought it would be a six month or a year kind of I move and then I would go back to my great life in Argentina. But live had a different plans for me.
Alejandro Cremades: So then so then obviously you know like live had different plans for you. But obviously you know moving to the us. You know it’s a whole different bogain know and being there in. Buosci I’m sure that you miss the Asa you know and all like good stuff that you guys out there and alphajoes. Yeah I Love Al Fajota’s there. But how that’s the idea of coming to the Us you know coming to the picture at what point you know did duck coming to the radar as a possibility.
Matias Serebrinsky: Well I was working in Argentina for a tech company um leaving our sales and marketing efforts for the southern con so Argentina Brazil Chile um uguai purguay and many of those countries and. I got ah an offer to move to our headquarters here in San Mateo and um, decided to take a chance moved and I would say after a couple of months of being here in the San Francisco bay area I got infected. By the entrepreneurial virus so very quickly so that every friend that I was making and everyone around me was in one way or another involved in startups and that energy and the type of dynamism that startups have were contagious and so. After a few months of being here and working for this very very large tech company I decided that I would start my own company and and that was the I’d say kernel for what I’m doing now.
Alejandro Cremades: Um, so how did you go about coming up with a right idea to resign and and to take that leap of faith. How was that journey like.
Matias Serebrinsky: Well I moved with my then girlfriend now she’s my wife on we have a baby together and um, she she has an interesting career path. She’s a lawyer who then did an Mba.
Alejandro Cremades: Are in.
Matias Serebrinsky: Who then went back to culinary school and became a chef and in Argentina she had her own catering company and when we moved here she couldn’t find a job that was exciting. Basically she had to go back to chop chopping tomatoes at the back of a kitchen and. Working weekends and night shifts and so I started thinking is there any other alternative for chef someone that is really an artist to do work. That’s more engaging more creative. And and that kind of like idea or that question was what led to the company I started which is called Kucuity and so Kucuity is basically a chef a marketplace chef so any chef can come into the platform post their meals. Their creations their art and we take care of everything else. So we take care of providing the ingredients and providing the delivery infrastructure. So those meals getting the hands of faults that wanted healthy food, delicious food and maybe don’t have the time or the knowledge to cook those meals.
Alejandro Cremades: So then so then obviously you know like you you came up with a concept. So what were the what was that execution on the early days like with this.
Matias Serebrinsky: Oh my gosh. So anyone that is in a food business will understand that it’s operationally a nightmare so you you basically go to war every day because there’s there’s no kind of like delaying things every day and you need to the leader. So. Number 1 we were testing a fairly new model I would argue a very very naative model of building this which was in many ways industrializing and scaling the concept of you know, homecooked meals. The concept of even a restaurant right? and so we need to. We had to figure out what that looks like from a production perspective what that looks like from an ingredient sourcing perspective and also from a logistical perspective right? How to do those meals and at that time we were only operating in New York so so in 1 way operating a food business really really hard from an operational perspective then adding on top of that ah model that was very innovative still is very innovative so you know figuring that out and we needed a significant amount of money to get started and convincing. Investors that they should bet on a physical business Basically it’s a tech enabled business. But ultimately it’s more about atoms than bits and convincing investors about that was really really challenging at that time. Fast forward to 2023 and.
Matias Serebrinsky: Investors have seen that there are a lot of opportunities in in the physical world as well. You know from space tech to even you know if we think of uber or airbnb all these companies operated in the physical world. But at that time that was fairly unproven. So what? Ah all this meant is that. Um, we it really? Ah, we really struggled to raise money and we were kind of living paycheck by paycheck or month. Ah by month. Not now in if we would survive but in the meantime we were growing considerably and so we had all these. Indicators that things were good and what we wanted to do made sense but those early days or early years I would argue were extremely hard on stressful until we found the product market fit I would argue that even 1 when we found product market fed it was still hard because it took a while for the company to get cash flow positive.
Alejandro Cremades: And and just for the people that that are listening to get it. Why ended up being the business model of the company. How was the company ultimately making money.
Matias Serebrinsky: Well so with this idea of empowering empowering independent chefs. We realized that we had to give them all the tools to do this so the business model ended up being one where we have commercial kitchens. The chefs come to our commercial kitchens we take care of sourcing the ingredients for them. They cook their meals. We post them to the platform and then we deliver those meals. Once a week. So the meals are delivered refrigerated and many of the meals areawed or produced in a way that they hold very well in the fridge until they’re heated and so now we rely on more of our commercial logistical companies to take care of those deliveries but in the early days we were actually taking care of those ellivers because we were only operating in New York today we’re operating in most of the Us.
Alejandro Cremades: So you came from Argentina to the us you knew no one so tell us about the power of networks because in the end you were alluding to raisingcing money and getting in front of investors. So how did you go about building your network.
Matias Serebrinsky: You’re absolutely right when I came here I studied in Argentina so I didn’t have kind of like the typical network that maybe some immigrants would have when they go to school in the us one of the things that we realized is that we had to get plugged into the. Venture ecosystem that means investor that also means advisorrs early employees and for us the best way to do it was to apply for to a few Acc Accelerators Startup Acceleratatorors and we ended up getting accepted in a. Really good. 1 It’s called angel pad angel pad incubated companies like postmates wangel and a few other unicorns. Um, at that time with Ian realized how instrumental and important that decision would be number 1 we learned a lot through going through the ah program. But also we met fantastic people even today my cofounder at the fund I’m currently running I met him there at angelpad as well. So. Power of network just changed everything for us and I think when when I talk to entrepreneurs today that may not have those connections I always advise them that that is one of the first things to do even before thinking about distribution or something else. It’s like okay.
Matias Serebrinsky: How are you getting embedded in the ecosystem that you want to operate in.
Alejandro Cremades: And you know just for the listeners. You know founder of angel pad founder of Bungo they’ve all been on the podcast. So go check their episodes I guess a you know the other thing here to to ask you is you know for for the company I mean the company. Obviously you know has been and has done pretty well. So far. The company has raised today. How much mine.
Matias Serebrinsky: Cookity Well I would have to get back to you on that one because we raised even more money after I transitioned out of the company. So I don’t have the exact number but it’s in the it.
Alejandro Cremades: But probably over 100000000 now that’s incredible. So so so how did you like develop early those relationships with the investors. How were you obviously you know like you use the accelerator program to really accelerate.
Matias Serebrinsky: Exactly I was going to say that it’s in the hundreds of millions.
Alejandro Cremades: The relationship building in the venture world. But what was that journey like of getting in front of investors here. You are a foreigner you know tool with the accent you know, just like me you know I know it’s not easy say you know I’ve done that too. So so how did you go about that because it’s it’s quite intimidating.
Well I would say that the validation of having gone through angel pad which is a fairly small accalator in the sense of they don’t take many companies so the the stamp of approval from angel pad and the founders there was instrumental for them getting. Connected with investors and we relied on warm introductions again if maybe someone has the the in the resume that they went to Harvard business school or Stanford or um, you know any of those schools you may. Be able to put something like that or even if you know the the previous experiences were around building a successful company or working for a hyperscale company. Those things help you bypass the need for warm introductions. We didn’t have those things so we really relied on.
Alejandro Cremades: Um.
Matias Serebrinsky: Getting an angel investor you know a number of angel investors on board first getting in the accelerator then angel investors and then those angel investors introducing us to larger firms.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s incredible and and and then like when you meet with someone like how are you able to really get or use them as a bridge to get to where you want to be I mean how is that strategy because it’s like ah it sounds like a 2 step approach to get to where you want to be or in front of who you want to be in front of.
Matias Serebrinsky: Well, he’s more like a 10 step approach because we had to we we had to go through so many levels or layers in order to raise from institutional investors later but um, ultimately I think that fundraising.
Alejandro Cremades: Um, yeah.
Matias Serebrinsky: And so many other aspects of company building are very much related to selling and there’s a quote that I really like from Zick Ziglar which says that selling is the transference of emotion from 1 person to the other one. So. That’s what I focused. Early on in my in my entrepreneurial journeys okay, this is something that I’m genuinely interested in I’m passionate about this. This is not what I’m doing to maximize the amount of money that I make this is actually my life’s purpose and desire and so. I still today focus on how can I convey that emotion to the person that’s in front of me and that may be an investor that might be a potential employee and that may even be a customer for us our customers or the companies that we invest in right? and so in in that sense. What? What really worked. Is when people understood the passion we had for this and that that passion was backed by data numbers and experience on facts. It wasn’t just delusional or and to put it differently. We had validated our assumptions.
Alejandro Cremades: Um, so so in your case you know. Ultimately, you decided to transition out why.
Matias Serebrinsky: Well, there is a couple reasons why I transitioned out the first one is that we the company had got into place that it was in equilibrium in the sense of we had a incredible um executive team and I realized that. What I enjoyed the most was that process of going from 0 to one those early stages in the company. So after a few years of hyperscale but also hyperwork and hyperstress. I decided that I was ready for my next adventure. So that’s that’s 1 reason or one part of this story. The other part of this story is that at that time I was working fourteen Fifteen sixteen hours day six days a week sometimes even seven days a week and um I ended up burning out. It was a really really challenging time in my life on all those years of kind of like uncertainty around not knowing if the company would survive if we would be able to pay employees took a toll on me and so when i. Considered that the company was in a better place and had great chances of survival I decided to step aside and prioritize my own self-care and mental health before exploring my next adventure.
Alejandro Cremades: So the next adventure was Nvidia and there you know you really got involved with investing in startups and and really more involved on the on the other side of the table and eventually you know that was the um, the bridge or the immediate step that needed to happen. You know for you to. Um, going to the other side of the table and become a Vc you know now when it comes to finding different modalities and and things you know for the mental being you know how was that you know because that that ultimately you know like was what made you resign and and and go after this. So. I guess why was the mental being so important to you at what point you know, perhaps you experience a breakdown where you know you realize the importance of having you know, ah the the mental state you know in shape. You know, ah and and and and how did that all you know, come together for you to to get going with what you’re doing. You know, right? now you know with sim adventures.
Matias Serebrinsky: So when I left community as I mentioned I was going through my own mental Health journey and I found tremendous healing in some of these modalities that were not really the standard of care for mental Health. Um. And as they say the future is here. It just not evenly distributed. That’s that’s what I realized they’re very effective tools that really are not being used by the mental Health establishment. So So that was kind of like you know one of the the initial kernels of it. It was my own experience and the realization that these tools that I needed were not what most people had access to and I had a position of privilege because I had the resources and time to explore this. So. So That’s more like the personal story but the other part that it quickly became a part to me is that we are in a mental health crisis. This is ah an epidemic and it’s an existential threat for us as a civilization. And when you think of other existential threats like the climate change. For example, things are getting better and we have substantial kind of data that show that we are able to solve this issue in mental Health that’s.
Matias Serebrinsky: Unfortunately not happening yet 1 in 3 Americans will suffer from a mental health disorder mostly either clinical depression or anxiety in their lives and the numbers are getting worse and worse you see like teenagers and the the percentages are even higher for mental Health Disorders. So. So It was my own experience and journey within mental health but also realizing that this is the single biggest problem I can focus my resources and knowledge into solving and when there’s a personal passion and a sense of purpose in the world I think that’s when. The magic happens.
Alejandro Cremades: So now as part of simmet you guys I mean and you have invested 50000000 through sbbs you know you did some angel investments and then now fund one that was 16000000 so there’s probably a bunch of people that are listening to that are wondering about. How to get into the world of Vc or how to start your own Bc how is that transition like because you know as they say raising for a first time fund is is almost impossible nowadays. So it sounds like you did it. You know the right way to step by step. You know all the way to to really getting into fun one and and beyond. So. How is that journey like for you of becoming a Vc.
Matias Serebrinsky: Well you nailed it and this goes back to the first part of our conversation of taking this 2 step or multi-step tiered approach. Um I started by angel investing in companies and kind of ah building my own network on. Deal flow capacities and that led to leading spvs where I wasn’t just investing my own money but I was also pulling money from other investors and that helped us and by us I mean the the sim team build a track record. Prove that the market that we were investing in was an interesting interesting market and also build relationships with lps and this part about proving that it’s an interesting market. It’s related to the fact that many times when I speak with folks that may not be that familiar with the space. The the first thing they all say is. Oh isn’t that too small mental health as an investable field and we discussed a little bit the statistics and data around how big the problem is from a numbers perspective or from a population perspective but mental health is the largest item. Or budget item within healthcare which in the us is the largest budget item in the gdp. So what what we showed to lps and investors is that not only we have this very very strong position within mental health but mental health is a gigantic market.
Matias Serebrinsky: That will deliver and and has delivered venture style or venture type of returns.
Alejandro Cremades: So so so talk to us about you know the the the way that you guys have developed your investment thesis. How do you think about? you know, investing in companies and and what are those checkboxes that need to be met.
Matias Serebrinsky: Well, the the first thing I’ll say is that most of that comes from my own passion and interests within mental health. Um, when I was investing atdemedia we were investing in. Ah, really really hard technical problems. So usually these were either scientific or engineer kind of challenges and the risks that we were underwriting were around the technical challenges and not so much the market to put it differently. It’s really really challenging to build these things. But if these things get built. There will be a market for it and so that experience at nvd and seen the power of taking technical risks versus market risks where what influenced our thesis around mental health today. So. We strongly believe that the solutions that will make treatments cheaper more effective more widespread safer will come from breakthrough technologies and what that means is that at time adventures we invest in frontier mental health technologies. And usually these technologies are what I call entrepreneurial science. So these technologies are things that come out of academia or other places where there’s deep research in science and we help those scientists.
Matias Serebrinsky: Figure out how to commercialize and how to go from science to startup.
Alejandro Cremades: Um, so bridging the gap between intuition and data tell us about this.
Matias Serebrinsky: When I went through my own kind of mental health exploration some of the modalities that I explored were not really accepted by science yet to put it differently. They were not in the averton window they were not at the ah center of the averton window. Um, but they were very very helpful for me. So what I realized is that in order for for us to invest in those things we had to prove that those things actually were backed by science and so the way I think about it is that many of the areas that we invest in. What we are actually doing is reverse engineering how they work so we’re bridging the intuition or those kind of anecdotes that something work into bringing that data and science that will back this? What are some examples of the areas that I’m mentioning. Well. Um, a very interesting one are psychedelic therapeutics or psychedelic tracks psychedelic tracks in the have been used for Millennia so amazonian folks. Um and indigenous tribes all over the world have been working with. Psychedelic plans for a long time in the 50 s and sixty s there were also many many explorations around this but until the 2010 s I would say the um ten years ago there wasn’t actually rigorous data.
Matias Serebrinsky: Or Research that was showing that these medicineines could actually be helpful for the treatment of mental health disorders like anxiety depression ptsd and so all of a sudden scientists started to run what’s called randomized control clinical trials and show that. These maines are actually safe and effective for the treatment of mental health disorder so that is an example of ah bridging intuition and data where something that um, it seems like it works but it’s not accepted by the scientific community then you know comes. As as part of the establishment and becomes at the standard of Care. There are other examples of this like food as Medicine. That’s ah, that’s one that it’s more new for us and we’re still exploring but the idea that you can treat mental Health disorders severe mental Health disorders Like. Schizophrenia or bipolar with different dietary interventions is quite a revolutionary ideas and the idea that you could even taper off medications by in ah in a very controlled way having a certain diet. It’s still not really accepted by most folks and so so that’s for example, an area that we’re exploring now and we’re very interested in backing and supporting entrepreneurs building solutions.
Alejandro Cremades: So if you were to go to sleep tonight Matthias and you wake up in a world where the vision of simon is fully realized what does the world look like.
Matias Serebrinsky: It’s a world where everyone that’s going through a challenging life experience being a mental health experience or any other type of physical challenge has safe effective and accessible tools. To find healing.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. That’s really unbelievable I um I find this really really incredible mattas now now we’re talking about the future here I want to talk about the past but I want to talk about the past with a lens of reflection. Let’s say I was to put you into a time machine. And I bring you back in time I bring you back in time to that moment where you were perhaps now in San Francisco having recently moved from Argentina and you were now starting to think that the corporate is not your thing but maybe you know you got to learn something of your own and really be part of the venture world and. You have the opportunity of whispering to your younger self and you’re able to give that younger self one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now now that you have seen you know the side of that venture world from the two sides of the table.
Matias Serebrinsky: The advice that I would give my younger self is number one Jump Headfirst Just just go for It. Don’t doubt yourself and embrace the mystery of what you’re doing. And don’t hold back at all. Just give it all and in the process of giving it all. Enjoy what you’re doing. It’s not about where you’re going to get but it’s about the process of doing it by itself.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow Show Show Mathia for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Matias Serebrinsky: My email is matthias@simedadventures I always read and try to reply to every email that’s actually personalized and it’s something that has to do with me and then you can find me on Twitter at. Mattyer so matis ERE I’m pretty active there and and we’re just active on Linkedin Twitter we have a newsletter as well. We have a podcast that’s called business trip which is a podcast about frontier mental health and that is another way that folks can. Connect with me and learn more about what we do.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing. Well Mathhias thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Matias Serebrinsky: Thank you Alejandra great questions.
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