VC Corner: Niko Bonatsos, General Catalyst

Welcome to VC Corner

Every week we’ll be presenting a short feature - 10 questions with a great lineup of diverse, powerhouse VC's - for our community of entrepreneurs to learn from.

We'd love to know what questions you'd want to ask or what VC's you'd like to hear from - just mention @StartupGrind on twitter with hashtag #VCCorner. 

Our first guest today is Niko Bonatsos, Managing Director of General Catalyst's $4B fund. Their investments include Airbnb, Honest Company, Snapchat, Stripe, to name a few. In their words, "We're not just writing checks, we’re spending our working lives closely aligned with people who make a difference – and who have fun doing it." (website). 

Niko is an experienced and respected investor, particularly interested in first-stage tech startups and partnering with first-time (rockstar) tech founders. What's his VC approach?

“I don’t mind if you weren’t born in the U.S. or if your accent sounds funny – mine does for sure. I also don’t care whether you went to Stanford or you’re a domain expert yet. I believe that talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.” (website)

Enjoy our VC Corner Q+A with Niko. 

Your Name: Niko Bonatsos

Title: Managing Director

Company: General Catalyst

Please describe your own / or your fund's mission/goal in one sentence:
We partner with the world’s most ridiculously ambitious founders who are building category defining companies.

What is one thing you are excited about right now?
Augmented Reality (AR) + Crypto (cryptocurrency).

Who is one founder or company you think we should watch / and can all learn from?
Patrick Collison, Co-founder & CEO, Stripe. 

What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company? 
Why now?

What is one thing every founder should do before walking into a meeting with a potential investor? 
Know their numbers.

Do you have a favorite business book?
Poor Charlie’s Almanac.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? 
To walk with friends. 

What is one piece of advice you’d give any founder? 
I always try to remember this for myself -- as well as suggest this advice to any founder: Treat every decision/meeting/interview as a learning moment. It’s always an opportunity to level up.

When did you close your current fund?
I closed my current fund in 2018.

Niko also spoke at the 2018 Startup Grind Global Conference in February. To view his talk at the event - "VC Logic: What investors really want to see and hear in a pitch" head over to our YouTube channel or click below.