A venture capital firm looks back on changing norms, from board seats to backing rival startups

SOURCE: Tech Crunch

Last month, one of the Bay Area’s better-known early-stage venture capital firms, Uncork Capital, marked its 20th anniversary with a party in a renovated church in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, where 420 guests showed up to help the firm to celebrate, trade tips, and share war stories. There’s no question the venture scene has changed meaningfully since Uncork got its start. When firm founder Jeff Clavier launched the firm, he was mostly using his savings to write six-figure checks to founders. Now Clavier and his contemporaries, including Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital and Aydin Senkut of Felicis, collectively oversee billions of dollars in assets. Zooming out, the whole industry has gotten a whole lot bigger. In 2004, venture firms plugged roughly $20 billion into startups. In 2021, that amount reached a comparatively jaw-dropping $350 billion. As the industry’s scale has changed, numerous rules of the road have changed, too — some for better, some for worse, and some because the original rules didn’t make a lot of sense in the first place. On the eve of Uncork’s anniversary, we talked with Clavier and his managing partner of many years, Andy McLoughlin, about some of those shifts.

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