Houman Ashrafian

“SV is a really interesting place. It’s unique for a number of reasons.”

“First, it’s truly a transatlantic fund. Unlike other firms that purport to be international, at SV there’s equipoise between U.S. and European weightings. You get all the benefit of the different cultural paradigms and investment philosophies.

“The mix of European and U.S. perspectives helps us. We’re always cross-fertilizing ideas on how to build and finance companies. We continually educate ourselves on the best ways to do deals and interact with entrepreneurs. We frequently check each other’s homework – we’re unique in our ability to stay up to date with different transactions and investment vehicles.

“If you look in my diary, you’ll find that in the morning, I’m going into the weeds of the science. In the middle of the day I’m in the weeds of logistics and execution – how to deliver, at what cost, a very operations-y discussion. And just now, I’m involved in a very detailed commercial set of discussions about how to structure funds, how to structure assets, what the strategic priorities would be, and broad issues about the trajectory of the company as we approach a public company.

“In the venture partner role, you want to be part of a family, with partners and managing partners interested in what you do, and with the experience to work with you to create a successful value proposition. SV rates highly on all of these. Venture partners are absolutely regarded as part of the family, they can influence decision-making on their own and others’ programs. You don’t just sit in a silo. You become an integral part of the team.

“As an entrepreneur I’d want a firm with the capacity to make decisions about assets and strategy. SV brings that – in one of my ventures we moved from investment to investment committee in about two weeks. Decisions happened very quickly. And then I wanted support every step of the way, filling roles, finding people with talent, locating incubator spaces, and ultimately moving on to acquirers and strategic partners. In my experience SV has all that in spades.”

Houman joined SV as a Venture Partner in 2016. He was promoted to Partner in 2017 and Managing Partner in 2018. He has founded four SV-backed companies, attracting strategic investment into three within 12 months at valuation uplifts. He was also the founding CEO of Ervaxx, Sitryx, and TRexBio.

– Houman Ashrafian, Biotechnology Managing Partner