Steve Berg is the Managing Partner of an emerging $10 million seed stage venture fund called Antecedent Ventures focusing on enterprise technology. He is also a Principal at a $100 million early stage fund called RTP Ventures. Key aspects of both positions include surfacing high quality deals for investment, working with founders to help build their companies and maintaining relationships with the venture and limited partner ecosystems.
Prior to venture capital Mr. Berg spent time in the tech industry as head of corporate development for Emulex (a public storage networking company) focusing on long range, strategic development including cultivating new business opportunities, bolstering strategic relationships and spearheading M&A activities. Mr. Berg came to Emulex from Punk, Ziegel & Co., a boutique investment bank, where he held the position of vice president and senior research analyst covering Enterprise Storage and Software. And prior to that Mr. Berg held a number of positions that straddled finance and technology. Mr. Berg holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University and is also a CFA Charter holder.
We chat with Steve Berg to learn more about his venture fund, Antecedent Ventures.
DarcMatter: Please provide a high level overview of your investment process.
Steve: There are both subjective and non-subjective factors that get evaluated. Some of the non-subjective include: target market, problem solved, team, traction, competitive advantage, revenue model, financial projections, exit opportunity, the deal and the CEO skill set. We rate these and compare them across companies. We back channel everything and we form an investment thesis that we then do everything we can to shoot down. If the investment stands up to this process we try to invest.
DarcMatter: What differentiates Antecedent Ventures from other funds in the sector?
Steve: Antecedent Ventures has two major advantages and a number of minor advantages. The major advantages are 1) the leverage that comes from a relationship with RTP Ventures, a $100 million fund that allows access to resources and 2) a skill set associated with enterprise technology investing which is less common on the east coast (the target geography). Minor advantages include rolodex, process and past experience.
DarcMatter: What is one development within the enterprise software industry that you expect this year?
Steve: I’m looking for a number of ancillary markets to become investible this year. The deals around data platforms and tools are done. The winners are being sorted out. What happens is those technologies create a whole new set of opportunities. For example I’m interested in data as a service, machine-to-machine learning, data visualization, natural language processing and the rise of vertical applications that use the available data platforms and tools.
DarcMatter: What have you personally invested in?
Steve: Non-volatile data storage, data availability and security.
DarcMatter: Finishing off on a fun note, tell us a little known fact about yourself.
Steve: Within the 5 or 6 square blocks that make up the neighborhood called DUMBO in Brooklyn, it is estimated that there are at least 60 startups. I’ve been living in that neighborhood well before any of them arrived – since approximately 2000.
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