The venture industry lately has been singing the praises of small funds, but Castile Ventures has been practicing the strategy for more than a decade.
To understand the firm’s culture, says founder and Managing General Partner Nina Saberi, you have to know how she grew as an entrepreneur, working in the ranks of venture-backed companies after graduating from college in the 1980s and then running them in the 1990s. Along the way she was mentored by the likes of ComVentures co-founder Cliff Higgerson and Crosspoint Venture Partners founder John Mumford, both of whom helped her launch Castile in 1998.
Saberi watched the venture industry grow, with fund sizes ballooning to $300 million, $500 million and eventually north of $1 billion, and didn’t get it. “For someone who comes from the company-building side of things, I was just puzzled by the whole dynamic,” she said. “I didn’t understand why suddenly it should cost $70 million to build a company that you were able to build for maybe $25 million or $35 million just a year before.”