50 minutes | Apr 12, 2021

#287: Hadley Harris, Co-Founder and General Partner of Eniac Ventures, on Raising Five Funds, Giving a Thoughtful Rejection, and Advice for Founders and Investors

Hadley Harris is a Co-Founder and General Partner of Eniac Ventures, leading seed rounds in bold founders who use code to create transformational companies. Eniac has recently announced it's fifth fund, of $125M, and their portfolio now includes more than 120 companies, with 50-plus exits. Their team's combined 80 years of experience founding and operating over 10 venture-backed startups and their belief in a strong community are at the heart and soul of their investment approach. Hadley has done a little bit of everything on the path to co-founding Eniac. Starting as a developer and engineering team lead at Pegasystems, he later took on roles as a product manager at Microsoft and strategist at Samsung, where it became clear that big companies were not for him. In 2007 he was very fortunate to join a couple talented AI founders out of MIT at Vlingo where he ran a several aspects of the business across product, strategy and marketing until it was sold to Nuance for $225M. He rolled his experience building a successful startup into Thumb where as CBO he helped the real-time recommendation app reach user engagement levels second only to Facebook before being acquired. Hadley grew up in downtown Boston, where he started his first company Beantown Odd Jobs at the age of 13. Hadley is passionate about improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which stems from his close relationship with his brother Traves. He is a Board Director for Cardinal Cushing Centers, which serves adults and children with intellectual disabilities across 4 campuses in Massachusetts. Some of the Topics Covered by Hadley Harris in this Episode Areas Eniac is investing in and how they got started Why Hadley loves this work and has continued it What drives their deal flow Their strategy of 2-3 GPs per year and shifting from following to leading How they approach the platform side of things Eniac's unique deal process Hadley's view on portfolio construction How their ownership targets have shifted as their funds have grown How they go about telling founders "no" Hadley's learnings on negotiation Their investment in Anchor The difference between investing in first and multiple time founders What founders should know about raising their seed round How Hadley manages so many professional relationships His relationship with his co-founders How Hadley prioritizes his mental and physical health Hadley's perspective on getting an MBA Hadley's advice for founders Sign up for The Grind, for actionable insights and stories from successful entrepreneurs delivered to your inbox once per week: https://www.justgogrind.com/newsletter/ Listen to all episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast: https://www.justgogrind.com/podcast/ Follow Justin Gordon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/justingordon212 Follow Justin Gordon on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justingordon8/
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