Startup Investing: Leo Polovets of Susa Ventures on Getting Access to Deals, Moats for Startups, and Insights from 70 Angel Investments

Startup Investing: Leo Polovets of Susa Ventures on Getting Access to Deals, Moats for Startups, and Insights from 70 Angel Investments

In this episode of The Vitalize Podcast, Justin Gordon talks with Leo Polovets. Leo Polovets is a co-founder and General Partner at Susa Ventures. He invests across sectors but mostly focuses on b2b companies.

In this episode of The Vitalize Podcast, Justin Gordon (@justingordon212) talks with Leo Polovets (@lpolovets). Leo Polovets is a co-founder and General Partner at Susa Ventures. He invests across sectors but mostly focuses on b2b companies. A few specific sectors he's invested in heavily are enterprise software; developer tools and technical products; and logistics and supply chain. He led Susa's investments in dozens of companies, including Outlier, Pex, Scalyr, and Stedi.

Having been a software engineer for 10+ years, he approaches challenges with an engineering mindset and supports portfolio companies in vetting and hiring technical talent.

Prior to Susa, he was the second engineering hire at Linkedin where he helped build the first versions of products like LinkedIn Jobs and LinkedIn Groups. He then worked on payment fraud detection algorithms at Google and was also an early engineer at Factual, where he built data cleaning, processing, and deduping software.

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Leo's Blog:https://www.codingvc.com/

Leo's Twitter: https://twitter.com/lpolovets

Show Notes

  • The story around Susa Ventures' investment in Pex
  • 3 big risks Pex had as a company and why Susa Ventures invested a couple of years after initially meeting them
  • The importance of moats in startups and why they are a key to what Susa Ventures looks for in companies
  • Moats that people don't talk much about including Robinhood's UX moat
  • A "schlep moat"
  • How to get access to deals as an investor
  • Why being a focused investor can attract founders
  • The importance of investing in underserved markets
  • Sourcing, vetting, and winning when it comes to hiring technical talent
  • How Susa Ventures built its reputation over time
  • How Leo got started angel investing and invested in 70 companies
  • What Leo looks for from angel investing
  • How learning accelerates through angel investing
  • Building a portfolio of angel investments
  • Determining a check size for angel investing
  • Why you should spread your investments out over a number of companies and years
  • Thoughts on founders becoming angel investors
  • What Leo is most excited about in VC

More About the Show

The VITALIZE Podcast, a show by VITALIZE Venture Capital (a seed-stage venture capital firm and pre-seed 400+ member angel community open to everyone), dives deep into the world of startup investing and the future of work.

Hosted by Justin Gordon, the Director of Marketing at VITALIZE Venture Capital, The VITALIZE Podcast features interviews with a variety of VCs, angel investors, and founders, with a particular focus on the future of work.

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Written by

Justin Gordon