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General Catalyst

Enterprise, Consumer, Health Care, FinTech, Media, Retail, Information Technology, Energy, Manufacturing
General Catalyst
Leadership team

Hemant Taneja (CEO & Managing Director)

Mark Allen (CFO)

Gabriella Giglio (CHRO / Executive Talent)

Anthony Dell (Chief Compliance Officer)

Molly Gillis (Partner and Chief Communications Officer)

Type
Seed,Series A,Series B,Series C,Series D
Number of Employees
100 - 500
Headquarters
San Francisco (United States), New York (United States), Palo Alto (United States), Cambridge (United States)
Established
2000
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Summary

General Catalyst is a venture capital firm that was founded in 2000 by Bill Fitzgerald, David Fialkow, David Orfao, and Joel Cutler. The firm is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has additional offices in New York City, San Francisco, and Palo Alto. General Catalyst invests in transformational companies and supports fearless entrepreneurs in building enterprise technologies and consumer brands.

The firm invests in various sectors but primarily focuses on tech-enabled companies. Their investment strategies include seed capital, early venture, growth venture, late stage & IPO, listed equity, acquisition/LBO, venture debt, debt, structured capital, special or distress, hedge strategies, and fund investments.

General Catalyst typically invests between $1 million and $50 million in a single deal, although they may go outside these limits for the right opportunity. As of their last reported information, the firm has a total size of $3.2 billion USD and a team of 41 professionals.


History

General Catalyst is a venture capital firm with a rich history in the industry. It was founded in 2000 by Bill Fitzgerald, David Fialkow, David Orfao, and Joel Cutler. The firm is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with additional offices in New York City, San Francisco, and Palo Alto.

Since its inception, General Catalyst has been dedicated to supporting transformative companies and fearless entrepreneurs. The firm seeks to invest in companies that are building foundational enterprise technologies and ubiquitous consumer brands. It believes in providing comprehensive support to help these entrepreneurs realize their vision and achieve their goals.

Over the years, General Catalyst has established itself as a prominent player in the venture capital landscape. It has a diverse portfolio of investments across various sectors, with a primary focus on tech-enabled companies. The firm invests in all stages of a company's growth, ranging from seed capital to late-stage and IPO investments.

General Catalyst's approach goes beyond financial investment. It provides support through its GC-powered platforms, such as Rough Draft Ventures, which is focused on student founders, and Executives in Residence (XIR's), who bring their expertise to assist portfolio companies. Additionally, the firm has developed the Velocity Network, a platform that connects enterprise companies with potential customers.

The success of General Catalyst can be attributed to its experienced team and its ability to identify promising investment opportunities. The firm has a team of 41 professionals who bring diverse backgrounds and expertise to the table. With their knowledge and network, they actively seek out companies with high growth potential and provide the necessary resources to help them thrive.

General Catalyst has achieved significant milestones throughout its history. As of October 2019, the firm had sold off its shares in 193 companies and was managing a portfolio of 226 companies. It has also raised substantial capital commitments for its funds, including a $600 million early-stage fund, a $1 billion growth fund, and a $700 million "endurance fund" to back large companies.


Investment criteria

General Catalyst follows a strategic investment approach, carefully selecting companies that align with their investment criteria. While the specific criteria may evolve over time, the firm generally considers the following factors when evaluating investment opportunities:

  • Founders and Management Team: General Catalyst places great importance on the calibre, passion, and experience of the founding team. They seek entrepreneurs who have a deep understanding of their industry, a compelling vision, and the ability to execute their plans effectively.
  • Market Potential: The firm looks for companies operating in large and growing markets with significant potential for disruption. They seek out companies that address clear pain points and have the potential to create new market opportunities.
  • Differentiation and Competitive Advantage: General Catalyst seeks companies that have developed unique technologies, business models, or product offerings that give them a competitive edge. They look for companies that can demonstrate a sustainable advantage over their competitors.
  • Growth Potential: The firm looks for companies with the potential to achieve significant growth. They evaluate the scalability of the business model, market demand, and the company's ability to capture and retain customers.
  • Product or Service Innovation: General Catalyst seeks companies that have developed innovative and compelling products or services. They value companies that are pushing boundaries, disrupting traditional industries, and bringing new solutions to the market.
  • Traction and Milestones: The firm considers the company's progress and achievements to date. This includes factors such as customer adoption, revenue growth, user engagement, and key partnerships. Demonstrated traction is an important indicator of a company's potential for success.
  • Cultural Fit: General Catalyst looks for alignment with its values and investment philosophy. They seek companies that prioritize diversity, inclusivity, and a strong company culture. They also value founders who are coachable and open to collaboration.
  • Investment Stage: General Catalyst invests across different stages of a company's growth, ranging from seed and early-stage to late-stage and pre-IPO investments. The specific investment stage depends on the company's needs, market maturity, and growth trajectory.

Values

General Catalyst upholds several core values that guide its approach to investing and company building. These values reflect their commitment to making a positive impact, fostering innovation, and creating a better world. Here are the values of General Catalyst:

  • Creativity of Approach: General Catalyst believes in the power of unconventional thinking and creative problem-solving. They embrace innovative and unique approaches to support founders and build successful businesses. By encouraging creativity, they seek to uncover less obvious answers and connections that can lead to groundbreaking solutions.
  • Generosity of Spirit: General Catalyst is openly generous with their advice, experience, and connections. They believe that investing time and effort in ambitious and talented individuals will yield fruitful results over the long term. They are committed to supporting founders and entrepreneurs by sharing their knowledge and resources.
  • Depth of Relationship: General Catalyst values comprehensive engagement and support, both personally and professionally. They build lifelong relationships with founders based on genuine empathy and shared visions. The team at General Catalyst draws from their own experiences in building and operating businesses, fostering deep connections with the entrepreneurs they work with.
  • Audacity of Ambition: General Catalyst recognizes that changing the world requires audacious ambition. They embrace the bold aspirations of founders and entrepreneurs and respond with their own formidable ambition. They believe in the potential of innovative software and services to drive meaningful societal change, and they approach their work with seriousness and dedication.
  • Mindfulness of Impact: While others may prioritize moving fast and breaking things, General Catalyst values mindfulness and intentional action. They focus on building things responsibly and with a keen awareness of their impact. They never lose sight of their responsibility and the opportunity to make a positive difference—for entrepreneurs, investors, their teams, and society at large. They view change as the product of their best efforts.
  • Diversity of Thought: General Catalyst recognizes the value of diverse perspectives and experiences. Their team is composed of individuals with varied backgrounds, including operators, founders, professional investors, CEOs, authors, athletes, parents, musicians, and more. They believe that diverse thinking leads to better decisions and outcomes, enabling them to navigate complex challenges and identify unique opportunities.

Mission

General Catalyst's mission is to invest in powerful, positive change that endures. They aim to support founders in building scaled and successful businesses that not only generate profits but also improve the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere. Their approach to company building revolves around responsible innovation, which involves integrating new societal values into the core of businesses from the earliest stages and making it a guiding principle throughout the company's growth.

General Catalyst believes that responsible innovation goes beyond traditional ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policies or impact investing. It is purpose-built for the venture ecosystem to catalyze a movement and provide a practical roadmap for the industry to drive meaningful change.


Portfolio

General Catalyst has a diverse portfolio of companies that they are proud to support. Their portfolio includes some of the most original, successful, and mission-driven founders. Here are a few featured companies from their portfolio:

  • Stripe: General Catalyst partnered with Stripe in 2010 as one of their earliest backers. They led Stripe's Series B funding round and have continued to support the company at every stage of its growth. Stripe has become an industry catalyst in the online payment space, and General Catalyst has been inspired by its world-class leadership.
  • Warby Parker: General Catalyst partnered with Warby Parker in 2012 and supported them through their journey to their IPO in 2021. Warby Parker is a prime example of a mission-driven company that has experienced remarkable growth. They have demonstrated the compounding power of combining a strong mission with a successful business model.

In addition to these featured companies, General Catalyst has investments across various sectors. Some notable companies in their portfolio include:

  • Canva: A consumer-focused design platform that enables users to create graphics, presentations, and other visual content easily.
  • HubSpot: An enterprise software company that provides inbound marketing and sales software solutions to help businesses attract and engage customers.
  • Multiverse: An enterprise platform that offers apprenticeship and talent development programs to help individuals launch successful careers.
  • Cityblock Health: A health assurance company that aims to provide personalized healthcare services to underserved urban populations.
  • Airbnb: A consumer marketplace that allows individuals to rent out their properties or find accommodations worldwide.
  • Guild: An enterprise platform that partners with businesses to provide education and upskilling opportunities for employees.
  • Snap: The parent company of Snapchat, a multimedia messaging app known for its ephemeral content and innovative features.
  • Gusto: An enterprise platform that offers payroll, benefits, and human resource management solutions for small businesses.

These are just a few examples of the companies in General Catalyst's portfolio. They actively seek out innovative and mission-driven founders across various sectors, supporting them in their growth and development.


References
General Catalyst
Leadership team

Hemant Taneja (CEO & Managing Director)

Mark Allen (CFO)

Gabriella Giglio (CHRO / Executive Talent)

Anthony Dell (Chief Compliance Officer)

Molly Gillis (Partner and Chief Communications Officer)

Type
Seed,Series A,Series B,Series C,Series D
Number of Employees
100 - 500
Headquarters
San Francisco (United States), New York (United States), Palo Alto (United States), Cambridge (United States)
Established
2000
Social Media