Tribe Capital recently appointed Boris Revsin as Managing Partner at the venture capital fund. But little has been written about the entrepreneur-turned-investor, who dropped out of school at age 19 to start his first business, to help direct investments in a $1.5 billion fund.
We recently had an exclusive interview with Revsin to learn how he was able to level up with an entrepreneurial mindset at every stage of his career, and how he’s now using what he’s learned about building businesses to build the most promising technology startup. to identify founders.
The first clue that Revsin had that college may not have come to him when he found that most of the classes he took didn’t help him develop applicable real-world skills.
“I woke up most mornings not really motivated to go to my computer science classes, and instead I wanted to spend my time building websites and apps”
He noted that for many of the more privileged students, college was essentially a very expensive way to have a little fun, while giving yourself time to get serious and get a real job.
By the time most of his colleagues were picking out their majors, he and his co-founders got busy making cold calls from local businesses to buy advertising space on his new college directory site and hired a dozen interns for what would become his first company. become, CampusLIVE .
Eventually, he got so busy building this business that he decided to drop out of school to work full-time. The decision paid off in the end as Revsin and his team moved on raise millions in financing, building the business until it was acquired in 2015 and rebranded as Breaktime Media.
After a stint of two years as co-founder of his next company, VentureApp (now renamed HqO), Revsin, along with his partner Julian Jung, decided to dive into the growing but less hyped crypto space in 2016 with their new venture The Game Theory Group, a research and media group that paved the way for them to become experts in the crypto space. blockchain technology they are investing in today.
During his tenure at Game Theory Group, Boris had built his purchasing network with multiple personal investments in the space. Then he met Republic. Republic was interested in creating a parallel product to their existing flagship crowdfunding product, this time for accredited and qualified investors. The Game Theory Group founders agreed to integrate their company into this new venture, now called Republic Capital, and focus on sourcing and syndicating fin-tech and crypto investments.
One benefit of developing a founder-operator mindset, Revsin said, is that you get used to building something without knowing what the final product will look like. Those skills of constantly and quickly experimenting and understanding how to respond to what the market tells you when building a product gives you the confidence and stamina to do things that other people just won’t do.
While building Game Theory Group, and during their tenure at Republic, Revsin and his partner Jungo would spend their days chasing the brightest students they could find, the ones building projects at schools like MIT, Harvard, and BU.
“The problem with some consultants and people from large companies entering VC is that they have little interest in working it out to get $50,000 checks from Limited Partners and look for deals that others might miss.” Revsin noted.
But that kind of grind-to-learn mentality has helped Revsin and his team at Republic Capital usher in a new investment model in the cutting-edge technology and early-stage crypto investment space through Special Purpose Vehicles that are raised for specific investments from Limited Partners, allowing to be more agile in financing agreements.
What started as a pair of $50-$100,000 checks for student-founded companies has become a group of syndicated funds with nearly $1 billion under management in early 2022.
This more flexible investment model also allowed Revsin to invest in opportunities that others may have overlooked.
In early 2020, with the global pandemic underway, Revsin was adept at finding opportunities in legacy industries that were being reinvented. Reflecting on his college experience, he became interested in the low-investment education sector and sought out companies that were at the forefront of developing new models of higher education.
Because the pandemic made it clear that online education and micro-references are becoming a real alternative to traditional higher education, with registrations continue to fall year after year due to skyrocketing tuition fees, Revsin decided to invest in an early round of investment from an alternative technical education company School16.
“I was looking for more education deals, and couldn’t find any investment opportunity because most of the EdTech companies out there were just an opportunity for what already exists in the industry, versus a reimagining of what education will look like in the future. future.”
At the time of Republic’s investment in early 2021, School16 had only been in existence for about 6 months, but had already successfully launched courses in sales, marketing, operations and product management for the new generation of professionals seeking a lucrative technical career without learning to code, or spending years and tens of thousands of dollars on traditional degree-granting programs.
Revsin believes that being a founder and operator gives him an advantage in finding investment opportunities because he can look around the corner and anticipate the ups and downs of a startup. He learned to find founders who were good at developing a story for their vision of the world, but who were open to learning from the market and adapting along the way to reinvent their business.
He would find founders building products and gripping the frontiers of technology, education, crypto and more, then use data, patterns and his understanding of market dynamics to contextualize their vision of the world of what the future might look like. can see.
This philosophy, and the desire to work with entrepreneurs and operators, is what attracted Revsin Tribe Capital.
Founded in 2018, the company developed a data-driven investment strategy by building their own quantitative analysis tool that uses raw data from startups to help Tribe evaluate deals and in turn provide invaluable insights for their portfolio companies.
This investment methodology has enabled the venture fund to provide investors with top returns and grow their fund to $1.5 billion in capital.
Last month, Revsin joined their team as Managing Partner to lead investments in primary and secondary markets and grow their growth recently announced incubator called Tribe Crypto Labs.
Throughout his career, Boris Revsin was able to quickly “level up” every few years through self-study by immersing himself in the industries he was interested in, quickly learning and responding to the market to build something that is in the past.
He forged his own path beyond the traditional educational model, developing skills in communication, sales and product development, and recognizing opportunities for innovation in industries that had remained largely unchanged for decades.
While he himself admits not being able to accomplish what he did without the ability to commit to years of “grinding” with each new venture, his experience is a testament to the new reality that successful careers of the future will are defined not by the passive learners, but by the builders and enterprising risk takers who have the courage to try something new, even when the outcome is uncertain.
Disclaimer: The authors are affiliated with School16, a company mentioned in this article.