Argon Ventures

Investment Rubric

We take a very qualitative approach when we evaluate potential investment opportunities.  The company is typically very early in its journey; there is generally no revenue, no material business metrics nor obvious signals of success, and oftentimes it's even pre-product. So we drive a series of conversations in an attempt to create mutual trust and belief.

We do evaluate a company through a prioritized set of criteria, with the first and foremost being Founders, followed by Market opportunity and ending with Product or technology strategy. We do this knowing first-hand that if we have found the right founders in the right market, then even if it becomes apparent that they’ve got the wrong initial product vision, they can learn, iterate and figure out how to create value. We've done that ourselves.

We often joke that the first few years of building our startup Brightcove (NASDAQ:BCOV) was like meandering in the desert. More than once we saw, off in the distance, a viable product concept and business model, but as we marched closer and closer to this perceived "oasis," we would suddenly realize it was a mirage.

But we'd pick our heads up, review what we had done and learned, iterate, look around and head off on a new path.

We believe deeply that a team that embraces customer discovery and continuous learning can figure things out (eventually!). And along that journey, we hope that by sharing our experience we can help point out the quicksand traps and lend you our binoculars to bring some foresight on the journey ahead.

We present to you our expanded evaluation criteria when meeting new teams and work toward building conviction.

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Fundamental insight and deep domain expertise

Authentic passion for the business

Bias towards cross-functional co-founders, with complementary roles

CEO EQ that allows for a good leader-follower dynamic

Readiness for collaboration amongst team members

Ability to debate, but come to quick agreement on the most important next steps for the company



Is the market big enough (e.g. TAM > $1B)?

What forces are changing this market? Why is the market inefficient?

Deep understanding of customer use cases

Business models can be validated in a rapid and iterative manner

Understanding of the ecosystem and their role within this network

Clarity on possible economics & scale of business (e.g. what could the business look like at a $20M+ revenue run rate)

Opportunity provides for multiple success paths


Product & Technology

Product success requires technical innovation led by founders and engineered by internal team

Strong skills to execute customer development process to inform product; empathize with potential customer needs

Ability to create and prioritize a product roadmap

A technical co-founder who can frame tradeoffs between desired business requirements and technology cost