Growing up in India and Singapore, Anjney Midha had big dreams of one day moving to Silicon Valley and joining the region’s thriving startup scene.
In fact, he was so enamoured by the startup culture there that he started sending cold emails to venture capitalists in the Valley, asking questions about term sheets and business plans. But the usual response he got — if he ever got one — was a simple one line message: “Next time you’re here, let me know, and we’ll get coffee.”
Eventually, Midha got into Stanford and things got a little better. But he still wasn’t able to get the type of instant access with VCs that he got with professors during office hours, leaving him frustrated with lots of unanswered questions about the industry.
But one day at Stanford, in 2013, he came across an on-campus “office hour” set up by Kleiner Perkins’ general partner Mike Abbott. The two instantly clicked, and three days later, Midha was hired as the youngest partner at Kleiner Perkins.
Inspired by those office hours, Midha and his team at Kleiner Perkins’ Edge Fund launched a new app last week that lets anyone from around the world ask questions and speak with them instantly.
Called the “KPCB Edge Office Hours,” the app is basically a communication app where users can ask and get instant feedback from one of the three partners of the Edge Fund, the firm’s early stage fund focused on emerging technologies like drones, digital currency, and virtual reality. The three partners — Midha, Roneil Rumburg, and Ruby Lee — spend at least two hours a week answering questions in real-time, while they respond to non-office hour messages throughout the week.
“The kind of access where you just open up your phone and you’re talking to an investment partner who can write you a check the next day just hasn’t happened before,” Midha told Business Insider. “Nothing’s broadcasted, you just have a 1-on-1 conversation with us while your identity is protected.”
Since its launch on Friday, the app has been downloaded in 17 different countries, Midha said, and he’s already set up 5 to 6 different meetings with people who reached out to him through the app. It’s still in its very early stages, but Midha says he plans to have guest CEOs and even some of the general partners from Kleiner Perkins participate in the two-hour weekly office hours.
Midha says the app is about much more than just providing unfettered access to Valley VCs. The ultimate goal is to change the way venture capital works using great software. “We’re not trying to replace venture capital,” Midha said. “We’re just trying to make VC much better, more efficient and accessible with software. That’s the ultimate goal.”
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