Aman Verjee was a 20-year Silicon Valley veteran when he, along with partner, Dave McClure and colleague, Stephane Shorter, founded Practical Venture Capital (PVC) in Palo Alto, California in 2019.
Aman brings a wealth of insight and expertise from a long career spent in some of the world’s most prominent businesses. To an unusual degree, Aman’s career has spanned operational finance roles in large, public companies as well as small, nimble startups. Most recently, he was the chief operating officer at 500 Startups, which during his tenure was the world’s most active venture capital company; while there he ran fundraising for the firm, guided the investment committee, and managed the world-famous, iconic seed accelerator program. Prior to that, Aman was the CFO at Sonos, Inc. (NASDAQ: SONO), a multi-billion-dollar consumer electronics company, and CFO of eBay’s North America operations.
But when asked about his favorite job, Aman doesn’t hesitate. He names his first job at PayPal, where he was hired by Peter Thiel and David Sacks to build out the company’s first ever customer analytics team. “Easily the best team I ever worked with – tough, but collaborative and driven like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he says. It was also and “an outstanding learning environment for me as I learned how to build a business from the best.” Aman eventually went on to lead financial planning and strategy for PayPal. Like Thiel and Sacks, Aman graduated from Stanford University (where the three of them met) and has a law degree (he earned his JD from Harvard Law School, where he also taught economics). He also shares their philosophical leanings and is a published author and editor of Thank You President Bush: Reflections on the War Against Terror, Defense of the Family, and Revival of the Economy, a 2004 bestseller from Amazon’s Politics and Social Sciences category.
Today, Aman is a general partner at PVC. “That means I do a little bit of everything … we all do a bit of everything,” he says. PVC is unique in that it’s a secondary venture capital fund, focusing on buying out investors from existing, successful venture firms. “Secondary funds are extremely rare in the world of venture capital because it's hard to figure out how to price high-growth, early-stage startups without audited financials,” Aman explains. But that hasn’t been a barrier for PVC. “By buying these growing portfolios at discounts of 25-50% or more, we’ve so far generated net IRR’s of over 100% for our investors.” Investors can also see those returns much more quickly using PVC’s model. “The problem with VC is that it is now taking 7-15 years for an investor to see a return of capital,” he says. “It’s not great, and I think that’s a fatal flaw for the asset class.”
At PVC, they do things a bit differently – they aim to return their investors’ capital within the first 18-24 mionths. Aman and his team buy out investors before a company goes public, which is admittedly a risk for them. But PVC has developed the ability to evaluate options and make the best choices, thanks in great part to Aman and Dave’s working relationship, which began at PayPal 20 years ago.
In the past 18 months, they’ve bought into several high-growth portfolios, which own significant stakes in companies like Canva, Credit Karma, Talkdesk, Lucid Software, Ipsy, Grove Collaborative, Intercom, Airtable, Flexport, BarkBox, Hippo Insurance, Branch Metrics, Rippling, and Reddit. Aman’s experience in the tech world has also allowed him to build a massive network of professionals in the industry. If he has a question, he’s able to confer with some of the best, most sound investors and venture capitalists in the industry for solid, reliable advice. He even coaches some of their children at Palo Alto’s Little League, and has tutored several of them during pandemic lockdown, too. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his two daughters, ages 7 and 10, taking them skiing on weekends, where they are part of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows team program.
Founder & General Partner — Practical Venture Capital