Happy 3rd birthday Hustle Fund!

Wow 2020 – what a year! I’m not going to lie – it’s been a pretty crappy year. The world often feels like it’s falling apart. I hope you are staying safe and healthy and wishing you the best in everything. 

At the same time, I also have tremendous gratitude. And today, I’m specifically calling out my Hustle Fund Family. Whether you’ve worked with us in some capacity, invested in us, pitched us, taken money from us, watched / read our content, introduced us to people, etc – THANK YOU so so so much! It takes a community to grow something successfully.

It takes a lot to get a startup – any startup – off the ground. This past Tuesday marked our 3rd birthday at Hustle Fund – we fully expect another year of tantrums and poop on the floor.

3 years ago, my business partner Eric Bahn and I set out on a 30-year mission — to help entrepreneurs who hustle — people who execute with velocity — get access to resources. We started this with our modest $11.5m VC fund that we spent 9 months raising. We met with over 700 prospective investors. And, I personally started this journey just 8 weeks after I’d given birth to my younger child. 2017 was quite a year.

(Side note: I reflect on our beginning years and raising our VC fund on First Republic’s new podcast called Venture Unlocked: check it out here. I’m biased, but I think it’s worth a listen!)

Fast forward to today, we now have:

  • $45m+ under management (more to come…)
  • 2 customer acquisition schools (unannounced)
  • 1 special investing program (unannounced) 
  • 2 online internet shows (1 unannounced)
  • 200+ portfolio companies
  • 1 incubated software company (unannounced) 
  • 13 people who work with us at Hustle Fund


It is amazing how together we have built so much of that in just the last 3 years – most of that in 2020. My team is amazing – I could not have imagined accomplishing so much in a short period of time. I can’t wait for the next 27 years.

A few stats on the founders we’ve backed with our VC fund across the US, CAN, and SEA: 

  • 30% of our companies led by female founders
  • 16% of our companies led by underrepresented minority founders
  • 15% of investments are “cold” (cold applications w out a referral of any type)
  • The vast majority of companies we invest in are B2B, followed by fintech, followed by consumer digital health
  • 3 Hustle Fund Founders who are LPs (we hope to grow this number!)

We have invested largely in the San Francisco Bay Area (36%). This is surprising to me. My prediction 3 years ago was that by this time, we would have only 25% of our companies from the SF Bay Area. But despite all the naysayers of the SF Bay Area, I continue to see CEOs move here BUT with their team elsewhere. I don’t know if you would call that a “Bay Area” company nor do I even understand what the concept of “geography” even means anymore. Indeed, as one of our newest portfolio companies asked us just a few days ago, “Why can’t I write down ‘remote’ as my location?” Good question indeed. We have now changed our location form to reflect that as a choice, and in fact, I suspect the entire above graph is largely irrelevant and inaccurate – especially during these COVID times.

I have so many hopes and dreams for the next 27 years in furthering our mission of empowering founders who can execute with speed. We haven’t scratched the surface on these goals yet, but we look forward to tackling things like: 

  • Investing truly globally
  • Supporting our companies in the late stages
  • Incubating more software companies
  • Accelerating companies in areas overlooked by many VCs including but not limited to: hardware, DTC, media, food, and the environment. 
  • Incubating part-time founders
  • And much much more…

It may be many years before we can even attempt to experiment with or tackle any of these things. Like any 3-year old startup, focus is important. We continue to work hard, hire well, conserve cash, and most importantly, build out scalable processes and technology. I have no doubt we will put a dent in experimenting with some of these things in the next 3 years while fully recognizing that this is a 30+ year journey with hopefully strong continuity after I’m gone.

We could not have come this far without ALL of your support and help. Thank you so much for joining us on this long journey to make the startup world a more fair and better place!

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3 thoughts on “Happy 3rd birthday Hustle Fund!”

  1. Hi Elizabeth, Not sure why (a sign of the times and probably exhaustion from continuing to build a startup with so much uncertainty around us) but your post made me emotional. You and Eric have been so authentic and have continued to be true to your mission of supporting early-stage founders. I started following you from your very first newsletter (not sure how I came across it) and have gathered so much knowledge through your posts, seminars and everything else Hustle Fund does for founders. ‘Shoutout to Kera – love her moderating the virtual sessions.’ Wishing Hustle Fund continued success. Happy 3rd Birthday and 27 plus to come!!

  2. Going full-time on your startup is a privilege that not everyone can afford. I’m so excited to see that your team aims to provide more opportunities for part-time founders!

  3. Amazing progress and momentum! Congrats.

    And, thank you from afar for sharing publicly your fundraising journey.

    If you’re also willing to share: how did you structure the management fees initially? The typically 2/20 model for a very small fund, especially with a team, doesn’t seem to work?

    I’m working with a foundation focused on mental-health to set up a small fund (~2M) and am trying to understand if there are alternative models.


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