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Building a Track Record with Paige Finn Doherty

Sep 21, 2023

Halle Kaplan-Allen

Hearing about Paige Finn Doherty’s path into VC is like getting a masterclass on building a track record. What is perhaps most inspiring about Paige’s story is that she never once waited for permission; time after time, she took initiative based on the path she envisioned for herself. 

We recently sat down with Paige to learn more about what was going on behind the scenes as she grew her Twitter following from 300 to 30k, published a children’s book, and raised over $10M to invest into startups. Aspiring angel investors, syndicate leads, and fund managers can learn from Paige’s story what it really takes to build trust, credibility, and a personal brand online.

Building community through writing

If there is one throughline to Paige’s journey as an investor, it’s community. As a 2020 college graduate, Paige was forced to navigate a tricky post-grad landscape and fell back on the community she built at San Diego State University to help guide her. In her first post-grad job at an early-stage startup, she missed the sense of community that she’d enjoyed so much in the SDSU entrepreneurship program. Since it was the peak of the pandemic, Paige, like so many others, turned to the internet. She reignited her personal blog and started publishing pieces like “How to Land Your Dream Job” as well as a virtual workshop on cold outreach. Through this work, she began connecting with like-minded individuals from across the world. 

“Writing online is like a tuning fork. You put an idea out and see who it resonates with.” 

Entrance into VC

As Paige continued sharing her work with peers and through Twitter, she started to feel tuned in a specific direction. Having studied entrepreneurship at SDSU and subsequently gone through On Deck’s Angel Investing program, she was pulled towards working with startups. After binge-watching Silicon Valley, Paige knew she had to find a way to experience the world of venture capital for herself. Frustrated by the lack of simple explanations of VC, she started writing Seed to Harvest, a children's book about venture capital. Coming to the industry as a beginner herself, Paige felt like she was well-equipped to educate her community about this complex, opaque topic.

The conversations she had while writing the book, along with her education, gave Paige a wealth of knowledge about the VC industry. And then, the magic moment: Paige discovered that she could start investing herself despite being an unaccredited investor. While you have to be accredited in order to invest in venture funds, you don’t meet any income, wealth, or certification thresholds in order to organize a venture fund or SPV. In fact, by organizing an investment vehicle, you actually become accredited for the purposes of investing in that vehicle.

Paige navigated countless hurdles when setting up her first few SPVs. The further she dug into the legal framework of SPVs, the more questions she had – questions that she couldn’t find answers to while working with legacy SPV administrators. Should I charge a management fee? How much? Am I even legally allowed to charge a management fee? 

Are you a syndicate lead who has asked yourself these questions? Sydecar is here to help – check out our article on Management Fees and peruse the rest of our Learning Center.

 

Sourcing your first deal and getting allocation

Paige’s first syndicate investment was into a company called Pallet which builds infrastructure to manage job boards. At the time, she was writing Seed to Harvest and using Twitter as a way to meet people to interview for the book. The founder of Pallet reached out to learn more about Paige’s approach to content and community, but Paige had something else in mind:

“I remember hearing Kai outline his vision for Pallet and having this overwhelming sense of conviction. As soon as we got off the call, I was like: “Hey, I'd love to have like a $50K allocation in your pre-seed round.” He told me he’d have to check with his other investors because the round was oversubscribed, but they ended up letting me in. And then, I realized that I had $50K in allocation and probably like a grand in my bank account.” 

Filling your first allocation

At that point, Paige had built up a small following on Twitter and decided to get scrappy. She understood that she couldn’t post about the allocation publicly, so targeted people who were “mutuals” and drafted short, personalized blurbs telling about the opportunity to invest in Pallet.

“I've always valued the art of very personalized cold outreach at scale in tandem with building an online audience. And it's a skill that I used to raise $60K from 17 investors in two weeks. Ultimately, that skill translated into a lot of the tactics that I used to raise our first fund, which was five million dollars. Of our 120 fund investors, a lot of those relationships originated from Twitter, including folks like Andy Weissman from USV, Heather Hartnett from Human Ventures, and Jenny Lefcourt from Freestyle.”

Building trust in public 

There was no playbook for Paige to follow as she set out to build an audience online and translate that audience into an investor community. Rather than navigate the challenges she faced alone, she chose to share her journey at each step of the way. By doing so, she was able to crowdsource crucial information about setting up her first few SPVs – but later on, she realized that sharing her journey publicly had a larger impact as well. As she shared her challenges and successes publicly, her followers started to learn how she thinks and makes crucial decisions. They started to trust her, without even knowing her personally. She started to build trust at scale.

“I was pretty shameless when I started. I found people who followed me on Twitter, which constitutes an existing relationship, so I could legally reach out to them. I’d tell them about the opportunity, what I liked about it, and maybe some of the co-investors. The conversion rates were pretty high because I had spent time building trust with people in public. Even if they didn’t know me personally, they had built trust by following me online.”

Building a track record: from SPVs to a fund 

When Paige set out to raise her first SPV, $50K felt like an infinite amount of money. Just one year later, she found herself closing a $5M fund, more money than she had ever conceived of. And yet, she still had people telling her that she should raise more. Telling her that $5M wasn’t enough capital to implement a successful investing strategy. 

As she reflects on what allowed her to build a track record (while she was a new college grad in a moderately paid startup job), Paige is grateful for her conviction and passion. Without that, she might not have chosen to muscle her way through the fundraising process for what feels like a relatively small amount of money today. 

“Knowing what I know now, raising a $60K syndicate from 17 investors is an insane amount of overhead.”

Many managers would argue that syndicating a deal with this investor-to-capital ratio is more trouble than it’s worth. Considering how much harder capital is to come by today compared to 2021 (when Paige was raising her first SPV), it’s easy to feel cynical about the opportunity for those without traditional experience, network, or access to capital to build a track record. Paige herself admits that she no longer syndicates many deals, preferring to deploy the readily available capital out of her fund. 

However, all hope is not lost for aspiring syndicate or fund managers. Young startup operators can be some of the most valuable capital allocators. Having your boots on the ground in the startup ecosystem creates a valuable network from which to source deals, diligence companies collectively, raise capital, and, perhaps most importantly, provide hands-on support to founding teams. You just need to have the right combination of resourcefulness, shamelessness, and conviction.

“I think there's still an opportunity there for people who are willing to go against what I know now, which is that syndicating deals requires a lot of work. But it got my foot in the door. And, if I could go back and do it again, I’d do it every time.”

The good news: the tools available to syndicate smaller deals have evolved significantly over the past few years. Sydecar was built to provide a flexible on-ramp to capital allocators who, like Paige, have incredible value to provide to founders and to the startup ecosystem as a whole. If you’re thinking about pursuing this path, look for an admin partner who can support your growth from syndicating your first deal to raising a committed capital fund. Sydecar is here to help.

Looking to syndicate your first deal but don’t know where to start? Learn more about our Syndicate product and get in touch today.

Hearing about Paige Finn Doherty’s path into VC is like getting a masterclass on building a track record. What is perhaps most inspiring about Paige’s story is that she never once waited for permission; time after time, she took initiative based on the path she envisioned for herself. 

We recently sat down with Paige to learn more about what was going on behind the scenes as she grew her Twitter following from 300 to 30k, published a children’s book, and raised over $10M to invest into startups. Aspiring angel investors, syndicate leads, and fund managers can learn from Paige’s story what it really takes to build trust, credibility, and a personal brand online.

Building community through writing

If there is one throughline to Paige’s journey as an investor, it’s community. As a 2020 college graduate, Paige was forced to navigate a tricky post-grad landscape and fell back on the community she built at San Diego State University to help guide her. In her first post-grad job at an early-stage startup, she missed the sense of community that she’d enjoyed so much in the SDSU entrepreneurship program. Since it was the peak of the pandemic, Paige, like so many others, turned to the internet. She reignited her personal blog and started publishing pieces like “How to Land Your Dream Job” as well as a virtual workshop on cold outreach. Through this work, she began connecting with like-minded individuals from across the world. 

“Writing online is like a tuning fork. You put an idea out and see who it resonates with.” 

Entrance into VC

As Paige continued sharing her work with peers and through Twitter, she started to feel tuned in a specific direction. Having studied entrepreneurship at SDSU and subsequently gone through On Deck’s Angel Investing program, she was pulled towards working with startups. After binge-watching Silicon Valley, Paige knew she had to find a way to experience the world of venture capital for herself. Frustrated by the lack of simple explanations of VC, she started writing Seed to Harvest, a children's book about venture capital. Coming to the industry as a beginner herself, Paige felt like she was well-equipped to educate her community about this complex, opaque topic.

The conversations she had while writing the book, along with her education, gave Paige a wealth of knowledge about the VC industry. And then, the magic moment: Paige discovered that she could start investing herself despite being an unaccredited investor. While you have to be accredited in order to invest in venture funds, you don’t meet any income, wealth, or certification thresholds in order to organize a venture fund or SPV. In fact, by organizing an investment vehicle, you actually become accredited for the purposes of investing in that vehicle.

Paige navigated countless hurdles when setting up her first few SPVs. The further she dug into the legal framework of SPVs, the more questions she had – questions that she couldn’t find answers to while working with legacy SPV administrators. Should I charge a management fee? How much? Am I even legally allowed to charge a management fee? 

Are you a syndicate lead who has asked yourself these questions? Sydecar is here to help – check out our article on Management Fees and peruse the rest of our Learning Center.

 

Sourcing your first deal and getting allocation

Paige’s first syndicate investment was into a company called Pallet which builds infrastructure to manage job boards. At the time, she was writing Seed to Harvest and using Twitter as a way to meet people to interview for the book. The founder of Pallet reached out to learn more about Paige’s approach to content and community, but Paige had something else in mind:

“I remember hearing Kai outline his vision for Pallet and having this overwhelming sense of conviction. As soon as we got off the call, I was like: “Hey, I'd love to have like a $50K allocation in your pre-seed round.” He told me he’d have to check with his other investors because the round was oversubscribed, but they ended up letting me in. And then, I realized that I had $50K in allocation and probably like a grand in my bank account.” 

Filling your first allocation

At that point, Paige had built up a small following on Twitter and decided to get scrappy. She understood that she couldn’t post about the allocation publicly, so targeted people who were “mutuals” and drafted short, personalized blurbs telling about the opportunity to invest in Pallet.

“I've always valued the art of very personalized cold outreach at scale in tandem with building an online audience. And it's a skill that I used to raise $60K from 17 investors in two weeks. Ultimately, that skill translated into a lot of the tactics that I used to raise our first fund, which was five million dollars. Of our 120 fund investors, a lot of those relationships originated from Twitter, including folks like Andy Weissman from USV, Heather Hartnett from Human Ventures, and Jenny Lefcourt from Freestyle.”

Building trust in public 

There was no playbook for Paige to follow as she set out to build an audience online and translate that audience into an investor community. Rather than navigate the challenges she faced alone, she chose to share her journey at each step of the way. By doing so, she was able to crowdsource crucial information about setting up her first few SPVs – but later on, she realized that sharing her journey publicly had a larger impact as well. As she shared her challenges and successes publicly, her followers started to learn how she thinks and makes crucial decisions. They started to trust her, without even knowing her personally. She started to build trust at scale.

“I was pretty shameless when I started. I found people who followed me on Twitter, which constitutes an existing relationship, so I could legally reach out to them. I’d tell them about the opportunity, what I liked about it, and maybe some of the co-investors. The conversion rates were pretty high because I had spent time building trust with people in public. Even if they didn’t know me personally, they had built trust by following me online.”

Building a track record: from SPVs to a fund 

When Paige set out to raise her first SPV, $50K felt like an infinite amount of money. Just one year later, she found herself closing a $5M fund, more money than she had ever conceived of. And yet, she still had people telling her that she should raise more. Telling her that $5M wasn’t enough capital to implement a successful investing strategy. 

As she reflects on what allowed her to build a track record (while she was a new college grad in a moderately paid startup job), Paige is grateful for her conviction and passion. Without that, she might not have chosen to muscle her way through the fundraising process for what feels like a relatively small amount of money today. 

“Knowing what I know now, raising a $60K syndicate from 17 investors is an insane amount of overhead.”

Many managers would argue that syndicating a deal with this investor-to-capital ratio is more trouble than it’s worth. Considering how much harder capital is to come by today compared to 2021 (when Paige was raising her first SPV), it’s easy to feel cynical about the opportunity for those without traditional experience, network, or access to capital to build a track record. Paige herself admits that she no longer syndicates many deals, preferring to deploy the readily available capital out of her fund. 

However, all hope is not lost for aspiring syndicate or fund managers. Young startup operators can be some of the most valuable capital allocators. Having your boots on the ground in the startup ecosystem creates a valuable network from which to source deals, diligence companies collectively, raise capital, and, perhaps most importantly, provide hands-on support to founding teams. You just need to have the right combination of resourcefulness, shamelessness, and conviction.

“I think there's still an opportunity there for people who are willing to go against what I know now, which is that syndicating deals requires a lot of work. But it got my foot in the door. And, if I could go back and do it again, I’d do it every time.”

The good news: the tools available to syndicate smaller deals have evolved significantly over the past few years. Sydecar was built to provide a flexible on-ramp to capital allocators who, like Paige, have incredible value to provide to founders and to the startup ecosystem as a whole. If you’re thinking about pursuing this path, look for an admin partner who can support your growth from syndicating your first deal to raising a committed capital fund. Sydecar is here to help.

Looking to syndicate your first deal but don’t know where to start? Learn more about our Syndicate product and get in touch today.

Hearing about Paige Finn Doherty’s path into VC is like getting a masterclass on building a track record. What is perhaps most inspiring about Paige’s story is that she never once waited for permission; time after time, she took initiative based on the path she envisioned for herself. 

We recently sat down with Paige to learn more about what was going on behind the scenes as she grew her Twitter following from 300 to 30k, published a children’s book, and raised over $10M to invest into startups. Aspiring angel investors, syndicate leads, and fund managers can learn from Paige’s story what it really takes to build trust, credibility, and a personal brand online.

Building community through writing

If there is one throughline to Paige’s journey as an investor, it’s community. As a 2020 college graduate, Paige was forced to navigate a tricky post-grad landscape and fell back on the community she built at San Diego State University to help guide her. In her first post-grad job at an early-stage startup, she missed the sense of community that she’d enjoyed so much in the SDSU entrepreneurship program. Since it was the peak of the pandemic, Paige, like so many others, turned to the internet. She reignited her personal blog and started publishing pieces like “How to Land Your Dream Job” as well as a virtual workshop on cold outreach. Through this work, she began connecting with like-minded individuals from across the world. 

“Writing online is like a tuning fork. You put an idea out and see who it resonates with.” 

Entrance into VC

As Paige continued sharing her work with peers and through Twitter, she started to feel tuned in a specific direction. Having studied entrepreneurship at SDSU and subsequently gone through On Deck’s Angel Investing program, she was pulled towards working with startups. After binge-watching Silicon Valley, Paige knew she had to find a way to experience the world of venture capital for herself. Frustrated by the lack of simple explanations of VC, she started writing Seed to Harvest, a children's book about venture capital. Coming to the industry as a beginner herself, Paige felt like she was well-equipped to educate her community about this complex, opaque topic.

The conversations she had while writing the book, along with her education, gave Paige a wealth of knowledge about the VC industry. And then, the magic moment: Paige discovered that she could start investing herself despite being an unaccredited investor. While you have to be accredited in order to invest in venture funds, you don’t meet any income, wealth, or certification thresholds in order to organize a venture fund or SPV. In fact, by organizing an investment vehicle, you actually become accredited for the purposes of investing in that vehicle.

Paige navigated countless hurdles when setting up her first few SPVs. The further she dug into the legal framework of SPVs, the more questions she had – questions that she couldn’t find answers to while working with legacy SPV administrators. Should I charge a management fee? How much? Am I even legally allowed to charge a management fee? 

Are you a syndicate lead who has asked yourself these questions? Sydecar is here to help – check out our article on Management Fees and peruse the rest of our Learning Center.

 

Sourcing your first deal and getting allocation

Paige’s first syndicate investment was into a company called Pallet which builds infrastructure to manage job boards. At the time, she was writing Seed to Harvest and using Twitter as a way to meet people to interview for the book. The founder of Pallet reached out to learn more about Paige’s approach to content and community, but Paige had something else in mind:

“I remember hearing Kai outline his vision for Pallet and having this overwhelming sense of conviction. As soon as we got off the call, I was like: “Hey, I'd love to have like a $50K allocation in your pre-seed round.” He told me he’d have to check with his other investors because the round was oversubscribed, but they ended up letting me in. And then, I realized that I had $50K in allocation and probably like a grand in my bank account.” 

Filling your first allocation

At that point, Paige had built up a small following on Twitter and decided to get scrappy. She understood that she couldn’t post about the allocation publicly, so targeted people who were “mutuals” and drafted short, personalized blurbs telling about the opportunity to invest in Pallet.

“I've always valued the art of very personalized cold outreach at scale in tandem with building an online audience. And it's a skill that I used to raise $60K from 17 investors in two weeks. Ultimately, that skill translated into a lot of the tactics that I used to raise our first fund, which was five million dollars. Of our 120 fund investors, a lot of those relationships originated from Twitter, including folks like Andy Weissman from USV, Heather Hartnett from Human Ventures, and Jenny Lefcourt from Freestyle.”

Building trust in public 

There was no playbook for Paige to follow as she set out to build an audience online and translate that audience into an investor community. Rather than navigate the challenges she faced alone, she chose to share her journey at each step of the way. By doing so, she was able to crowdsource crucial information about setting up her first few SPVs – but later on, she realized that sharing her journey publicly had a larger impact as well. As she shared her challenges and successes publicly, her followers started to learn how she thinks and makes crucial decisions. They started to trust her, without even knowing her personally. She started to build trust at scale.

“I was pretty shameless when I started. I found people who followed me on Twitter, which constitutes an existing relationship, so I could legally reach out to them. I’d tell them about the opportunity, what I liked about it, and maybe some of the co-investors. The conversion rates were pretty high because I had spent time building trust with people in public. Even if they didn’t know me personally, they had built trust by following me online.”

Building a track record: from SPVs to a fund 

When Paige set out to raise her first SPV, $50K felt like an infinite amount of money. Just one year later, she found herself closing a $5M fund, more money than she had ever conceived of. And yet, she still had people telling her that she should raise more. Telling her that $5M wasn’t enough capital to implement a successful investing strategy. 

As she reflects on what allowed her to build a track record (while she was a new college grad in a moderately paid startup job), Paige is grateful for her conviction and passion. Without that, she might not have chosen to muscle her way through the fundraising process for what feels like a relatively small amount of money today. 

“Knowing what I know now, raising a $60K syndicate from 17 investors is an insane amount of overhead.”

Many managers would argue that syndicating a deal with this investor-to-capital ratio is more trouble than it’s worth. Considering how much harder capital is to come by today compared to 2021 (when Paige was raising her first SPV), it’s easy to feel cynical about the opportunity for those without traditional experience, network, or access to capital to build a track record. Paige herself admits that she no longer syndicates many deals, preferring to deploy the readily available capital out of her fund. 

However, all hope is not lost for aspiring syndicate or fund managers. Young startup operators can be some of the most valuable capital allocators. Having your boots on the ground in the startup ecosystem creates a valuable network from which to source deals, diligence companies collectively, raise capital, and, perhaps most importantly, provide hands-on support to founding teams. You just need to have the right combination of resourcefulness, shamelessness, and conviction.

“I think there's still an opportunity there for people who are willing to go against what I know now, which is that syndicating deals requires a lot of work. But it got my foot in the door. And, if I could go back and do it again, I’d do it every time.”

The good news: the tools available to syndicate smaller deals have evolved significantly over the past few years. Sydecar was built to provide a flexible on-ramp to capital allocators who, like Paige, have incredible value to provide to founders and to the startup ecosystem as a whole. If you’re thinking about pursuing this path, look for an admin partner who can support your growth from syndicating your first deal to raising a committed capital fund. Sydecar is here to help.

Looking to syndicate your first deal but don’t know where to start? Learn more about our Syndicate product and get in touch today.


So, ready to roll?

So, ready to roll?

So, ready to roll?