Pete Flint, NFX: Investing in exceptional founders in Latin America, Ep 142

During the summer of ‘95, when Netscape went public, Pete Flint decided he wanted to get involved in Internet startups as the next step in his career. He went on to form part of the founding team of in the UK– an online travel site that was later acquired for over $1B. 

With his eyes set on Silicon Valley, Pete eventually made his way over to the US and founded Trulia, one of the largest and fastest-growing real estate websites in the US that merged with Zillow. Today, Pete is on the other side of the investment table as General Partner at NFX, a Seed and Series A venture firm based in San Francisco.

I sat down with Pete to talk about what it was like founding startups in different Internet eras and why he decided to make the jump into Latin America with NFX. Pete also provides advice to founders for overcoming crises, having experienced himself running a travel company during 9/11 and a real estate company during the 2008 financial crisis.

Founding a company in two different geographies and Internet eras

When comparing the context in which and Trulia were founded, Pete considers that there were more similarities than differences. However, he recognizes that some marked differences were the market fragmentation as well as the cost to get going in the UK in 1998 compared to the US in 2005.

Find out more about the differences between the two Internet eras in this episode of Crossing Borders.

Dealing with a crisis as a founder

Pete saw firsthand what it was like to deal with a crisis as a founder– with, it was September 11, and with Trulia, it was the 2008 financial crisis. The repercussions of these events were felt deeply worldwide, but especially in Pete’s industries. He explains that the greatest struggle was more mental rather than business related.

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders for Pete’s advice on maintaining personal and team morale during a crisis.

On identifying market opportunities

As a serial entrepreneur, Pete has developed a keen eye for business opportunities over the years. There are three different aspects Pete takes into account when picking an industry to build a company, one of them being cultural adoption. For example, with Trulia, he identified a rise in consumer searches for online real estate services. Whereas today, the most recent cultural phenomenon would be remote work.

Learn more about the other two aspects Pete considers when evaluating an opportunity in this episode of Crossing Borders.

Pete Flint’s impressive track record as an entrepreneur provides him with the insight needed to identify great opportunities and support other founders in their journeys as an investor at NFX. 

Outline of this episode:

  • [2:16] – About NFX
  • [3:12] – From London to Silicon Valley
  • [6:15] – Founding companies in different internet eras
  • [12:20] – Criteria for picking travel and real estate industries
  • [16:17] – Checking off boxes
  • [18:43] – Dealing with a crisis 
  • [23:22] – Making the jump into Latin America
  • [28:20] – Recruiting in other geographies
  • [30:28] – Excitement for Latin America
  • [33:02] – Understanding what is exceptional
  • [36:30] – Advice to Pete’s younger self
  • [38:56] – Books, blogs, & podcast recommendations

Resources & people mentioned:

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