You would possibly know him for his viral tweets, however Turner Novak wasn’t all the time a grasp meme-maker.
As an alternative, Novak grew up with a single mom in the USA. The monetary state of affairs of his household led to the web being not all the time accessible. They typically hop-scotched between discounted trials and went months with out entry. The expertise, he says, was formative in his relationship with know-how extra broadly.
“It actually made me admire simply how impactful and the way essential the web is” he mentioned. “And it [taught] me use it effectively.”
Now, the investor has began a agency peeled from the ethos. Banana Capital is a agency that may seed and supply client tech founders from the corners of the online. The oversubscribed debut fund is $9.99 million and the typical test measurement is between $25,000 to $300,000. Buyers in Banana Capital embody Winnie co-founder Sara Mauskopf, Andreessen Horowitz basic associate Sriram Krishnan and GGV managing associate Hans Tung. VC Starter Package, a meme account for tech Twitter, can be an LP.
Novak shall be investing within the broad client sector, with particular curiosity in early-stage startups within the social, healthcare and e-commerce sector. He’s concentrating on possession between 0.2% to three%. Comparatively, Cleo Capital, a pre-seed stage with the identical belongings underneath administration, leads checks and targets between 15% to twenty% possession in its rounds.
Novak says he made a option to actively goal low possession as a substitute of main rounds to provide him flexibility in what phases to play in long run.
Memes and banana peels
Novak describes Banana Capital as an internet-first fund. However whereas that phrase can typically be a buzzword, his monitor report offers some shade on how a community constructed by the web, as a substitute of geography, seems to be.
Novak’s vibe could be finest proven in his meme recreation. Novak was a part of the Eye Mouth Eye ( 👁👄👁) marketing campaign that rocked Silicon Valley in June 2020, that used meme tradition for example how FOMO and hype are what catch investor consideration. He’s one in every of a handful of buyers who religiously put up memes on Twitter and TikTok about tech. He has a recurring collection about audio social app Clubhouse and its fundraisers. One in every of his viral tweets was a mock video of a startup pitching to a VC, which racked up greater than 186,200 views on Twitter, in addition to a handful of duets on TikTok.
Whereas some of his tweets are simply for the spice, the memes have develop into considerably of a method for the rising fund supervisor. His mock pitch video, for instance, led to an funding in an organization. Founders typically straight message him after a tweet inviting him to affix an open cap desk slot. The technique is a part of his differentiation in the case of deal move. Banana Capital’s portfolio has 11 recognized investments, together with Flexbase, Skillful and Bottomless.
“It simply sort of occurs the place [my investments] are individuals who perceive the tradition of the web, to grasp memes and perceive wit and humor and admire that somewhat bit extra,” he mentioned. “These are in all probability the individuals which might be extra naturally intuitive investments, so it undoubtedly does skew that path.”
Whereas Novak didn’t share specific targets or mandates round funding in numerous founders, he pointed to his monitor report at Gelt VC, wherein 41% of capital went to lady CEOs. Thus far, 65% of Banana Capital’s portfolio founding groups embody non-white founders and 50% of the groups embody multiple gender.
Novak plans on staying in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the foreseeable future, however couldn’t resist a poke at Miami, a rising, buzzy tech hub. URL jokes apart, his geography, so to talk, would be the web.
“My community will not be in San Francisco and New York, it’s extra so simply individuals like on the web,” he mentioned. “That’s simply how I meet individuals.”
Novak had a number of explanations for why he’s selecting to name his agency Banana Capital. First, bananas are one of the crucial consumed fruits on the market and have been by way of quite a few iterations and bio-engineering processes all through historical past, with a nod to the main target of his investments within the client sphere.
Second? “There actually aren’t any fruit funds on the market,” he mentioned. “My vibe is that I take myself rather less critically than different individuals and the title simply mirrored that.