- Danielle Baskin, the founder of a startup called Your Boss, made flashcards to keep Silicon Valley investors straight in her head.
- Those flashcards evolved into TouchBase – a line of VC trading cards that she prints from a garage.
- Each $US60 pack contains five cards.
- She’s received about 50 orders so far, and many VCs have got in touch to request that they be added to the lineup.
- Like ‘real’ trading cards, some VCs are harder to find in a pack than others.
When Danielle Baskin needed to raise money for her startup, called Your Boss, she started making flash cards to keep straight all the various investors she was planning to pitch.
“I realised venture capital is kind of like a sport,” Baskin told Business Insider in a recent interview.
Though she wasn’t much of a collector growing up, the connection between venture capitalists and the world of sport sparked an idea – what if she turned the detailed notes on her flashcards into actual trading cards for the venture capital industry?
TouchBase VC trading cards were born. Baskin tells us that the first packs will be shipped in the coming weeks. Each pack contains five cards and retails for $US59.99.
We had first learned of Baskin’s project a couple of weeks back but recently visited her San Francisco studio to learn more about the TouchBase project.
Here’s what we found:
Like many storied startups that have come before it, TouchBase’s studio is in a garage. It’s located in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Those interested in a private viewing of TouchBase’s collection can book an in-person appointment here.
Or you can simply read on.
Inside, TouchBase founder Danielle Baskin works on fulfilling the 50-plus orders she’s received thus far. Each pack contains five cards and retails for $US59.99.
Cards are printed on-site, using this machine.
Baskin already had the printer for another side-hustle of hers – a bike helmet company called Inkwell Helmets.
The cards are printed on large sheets like this. Baskin said she’s varying the number of cards printed for each VC to make some cards rarer than others, as tracked in a Google spreadsheet.
The rarest card is of Don Valentine of Sequoia Capital, the so-called “grandfather of venture capital.” Baskin says only three Valentine cards will ever be put into circulation.
Baskin showed us us some of her favourite cards, including Reid Hoffman, best known as a founder of LinkedIn, and today an investor with Greylock Partners.
Hoffman is also a member of the so-called PayPal Mafia, the group of former PayPal founders and early execs that went on to become influential entrepreneurs, inventors, and investors. PayPal Mafia members-turned-investors, like Hoffman and Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital, get a special “PayPal Mafia” logo on their cards as well.
The back of each card contains the investors’ stats, including key investments and how many startup exits they have had. A startup is considered to have “exit” when it goes public or gets acquired.
Baskin says compiling all this information for the back of cards takes more time than any other part of the process.
She told us that her favourite tidbit of info she’s discovered thus far is that Y Combinator’s Sam Altman was once the CEO of Reddit for eight days.
Forerunner Ventures’ founding partner Kirsten Green has a green card. It’s not because of her name, but rather a way to signify that she’s both a startup founder and an investor.
Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian has a green card as well.
Similar to traditional sports cards, TouchBase has “rookie” cards as well. Baskin told us that since she didn’t collect them growing up, she borrowed some of her friend’s basketball cards for design inspiration.
The top VC rookie of 2017 was Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover. His Weekend Fund invested $US3 million in early stage startups last year.
Sarah Guo of Greylock Partners is the top rookie of 2018, according to TouchBase.
Jason Calacanis, the famed angel investor, has a card in the “unicorn series.” Calacanis was an early investor in Uber, which is now worth around $US72 billion.
Angel investor Gary Vaynerchuck scored his own card as well.
On TouchBase’s website, the company allows people to recommend investors or founders they’d like to see added to the collection.
Baskin tells us that she’s received around 150 requests for VCs – and that many of those requests have come from the VCs themselves.
The TouchBase cards include celebrity VCs, like Ashton Kutcher, who get their own special series. Kutcher is a prolific investor, with his firm A-Grade Investments holding stakes in the like of Uber, Airbnb, and Pinterest.
Longtime investors like Khosla Ventures’ Vinod Khosla is also available. This card may be worth big bucks one day because of the spelling error. Can you spot it?
Here’s a sneak peak at some more unfinished cards, including Sequoia Capital’s Sir Michael Moritz.
Despite the interest from those in the industry, she tells us that the first run of TouchBase cards may also be its last. That news may sadden investors, who hoped to see their faces on the front of a TouchBase card, but reason to celebrate for collectors who pull some of the rarest cards this holiday season.