"It's inspiring to know that tomorrow’s companies will be constructed on the foundations we are laying today."
What inspires you about venture capital?
Venture investing and the equity incentive structure on which it relies is the collaborative model that has driven much of the accelerated technological progress seen over the last 60 years. It is invigorating to spend each day with entrepreneurs who are actively solving current challenges, and inspiring to know that tomorrow’s companies will be constructed on the foundations we are laying today.
What key characteristics do you look for in the founders you partner with?
Every business encounters serious, gut-wrenching challenges along the way: new bookings targets are missed, customers churn, product release dates get stretched. We look to form decade-long partnerships when we invest, and partnerships require willingness to sit down and address problems head-on without ego, pride, or fear preventing an honest and open conversation.
Do you have any tips or advice for founders who are looking to raise capital from MMV?
Start by telling us about your customer; who are they and what costly problem do you solve for them. That should be the cornerstone of our conversation. TAM is important, as are unit economics, LTV/CAC, scaling efficiencies, etc., but customer ROI is a critical starting place for us. After we’ve had that conversation, turn the conversation around and ask us what MMV can do to help you.
What professional or personal event in your life helped shape the way you think about venture investing?
I raised capital as a 20-something year-old entrepreneur, and I didn’t grasp at the time the frameworks and return models the VCs were using to assess our startup. The rise of venture-capital-as-theater on popular TV shows and VC demo days has further muddied popular conceptions about venture investing, and made it seem more flashy and personality-driven. As a result, I try to be more open-book in my work with entrepreneurs; they are the ones doing the real heavy-lifting.
Which investment categories excite you most and why?
Fintech and its interesting subcategories, insurtech and proptech, is where I dedicate the bulk of my investment efforts. We have seen transformational change in this sector over the last 5 years, and the additional liquidity and flexibility created by reducing institutional and regulatory friction in each of these asset classes is increasing consumer choice and democratizing access to wealth creation and preservation.
Eric is a Managing Partner at MassMutual Ventures, and joined the firm at the inception of the MMV fund family in 2014. He focuses on investments in fintech, insurtech, enterprise SaaS, and data analytics. Prior to starting MassMutual Ventures, Eric served as head of Siemens Venture Capital North America. His current and past investments include TOA Technologies (acq. Oracle), Protonex (acq. Ballard Power), Porogen (acq. Air Liquide), Limelight Health (acq. Fineos), IEX Group, Policygenius, Gradient, Picwell, and Prove. Eric also worked in the M&A advisory practice at L.E.K. Consulting and was on the founding team at Enmed, Inc. (acq. Megasoft). Eric holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives outside of Boston with his wife and two teenaged sons.Companies IEX Building Engines RiskIQ Policygenius Picwell Limelight Apliant Digital Guardian Ledger Investing Gainfully Alessa Prove Inpensa Affinity Gradient AI BigTime Embroker Awning Watershed Health Knowify Fund That Flip Acorn Finance Pendella Technologies Gain Life Related Happenings Insurtech VCs talk COVID fallout, diversity, and growth opportunities: Roundtable