Mark Peter Davis
Managing Partner, Interplay Ventures
Venture Partner, High Peaks Venture Partners
I breathe startups. Most of my closest friends are my business partners and a day painting a whiteboard is only second to a day with my family.
About Interplay Ventures:
Launched in April and based in New York City, Interplay Ventures incubates, partners and invests in startup companies. Mark and his team incubate companies in the old-fashioned way, by taking one of their existing ideas, recruiting a CEO, raising money and launching a new venture. They also partner with existing companies by joining them as active operators, allowing access to their network and developing growth strategies. They also make angel investments in companies they see potential in.
About High Peaks Venture Partners:
High Peaks Venture Partners is an early stage venture capital fund based in New York City. High Peaks makes Seed and Series A investments in industry transforming information technology companies. To remain true to the philosophy that working closely with its partners is a key recipe to success, High Peaks limits its investments to companies based in the northeast.
JM: On your blog, it says that you “breathe startups.” Where did that passion come from, and in a world where so many small businesses fail, is the enthusiasm ever hard to maintain?
MPD: It’s not something I chose; entrepreneurship chose me. I’ve been starting companies since the fifth grade. It’s never been about the money, it’s my creative outlet. To me, it’s art.
JM: You’re still with High Peaks Venture Partners, but decided to launch Interplay in April. What was the reasoning behind that?
MPD: Interplay and High Peaks are very different entities, but incredibly complementary. Through Interplay I’ve been able to stay more active on the operational side of the business, which I really enjoy. Recruiting, BD, Marketing, Fundraising, General Management and beyond are things I get my hands dirty in on a daily basis through Interplay. I work very closely with the other founders in the Interplay family.
JM: What are the up-and-coming industries venture capitalists should be watching closely?
MPD: Probably the ones they’re not paying attention to yet. The rate of innovation is accelerating, making it hard to stay ahead of the game. As a result, I suspect that the industries that don’t seem market worthy yet will be the most exciting in the very near term. Robotics, space…anything “sci-fi” are now relevant in my mind.
JM: Of the startups you’re currently working with, what are the one or two that you’re most excited about? And which company has been the most exciting to work with at this point in your career?
MPD: Tough question to answer. I’m really excited about all of our partner companies. Here’s a brief list:
- Awl & Sundry
- Nomad Financial
- Warby Parker
JM: You released your first book, The Fundraising Rules, in March, based on the premise that “many of the world’s best entrepreneurs are bad at fundraising.” What are the biggest takeaways entrepreneurs can expect from the reading it?
MPD: The Fundraising Rules focuses uniquely on the fundraising process. It’s very tactical “how-to”, written as a handbook that leads entrepreneurs chronologically through each stage of the fundraising process. If someone reads this book, they should know how to raise venture capital.
- Background on VC
- Developing a Fundraising Strategy
- Picking the VCs
- Preparing Your Materials
- The Pre-Fundraising Process
- Getting the Meeting
- The First Meeting
- After the First Meeting
- The Due Diligence Phase
- Doing the Deal
- Deal Terms: Rights to Future Cash
- Deal Terms: Control
- After the Deal
JM: What are the best pieces of advice, both personally and professionally, that you’ve received?
“The more you give the more you get.”
“Say what you’re going to do and do what you say.”