Thursday, January 9, 2014
“Girls here wear North Face fleeces at dinner,” Vivian shouted at the dashboard microphone of her Mini Cooper. She pulled forward, having failed her 4th attempt at parallel parking into a minivan-sized spot on California St. in San Francisco.
“Shut up,” Sarah responded in disbelief from her Midtown Manhattan office.
“At the table,” Vivian clarified.
“Shut up.” Sarah echoed.
“Yeah, and these tech guys: they like smart girls,” Vivian elaborated, finally getting a decent approach angle on the parking spot. “They want girls who converse and will eat the occasional rich, delicious meal with them.”
Sarah’s disbelief began to turn to irritation. “Vivian, what you’re saying right now doesn’t even make sense.”
“SF guys,” Vivian continued, ignoring her friend, “They aren’t guys trying to work at hedge funds, Sarah.” Vivian bumped the car behind her. She slowed her pace for added effect: “…they’re the LP’s.”
Sarah literally couldn’t move from her Aeron chair on 6th avenue. She took a moment to digest all the information her friend had just relayed to her and attempted to play it back:
“Okay. So a girl like me, who has to go to SoulCycle 6x a week to even hope to attract some fucking Associate in New York, could be the one picking and choosing from any number of potential multi-millionaires in San Fran?”
“Exactly,” said Vivian.
“This is nuts, Vivian,” Sarah mumbled. “This is crazy…” she repeated. Slowly, Sarah’s tone changed from skepticism to one of hope and possibility. “This is…” she searched.
Vivian pulled forward a few feet, leaving her car at a 30 degree angle, tires facing into the downhill street and helped out:
“This is what we’ve been training for our entire lives.”
There is a new model being defined for females in San Francisco, and unlike any of the perpetually pivoting projects San Francisco calls businesses, a female of this breed is extremely focused, with well-defined goals and objectives. Her plan is simple: aggressively and exclusively seek out, seduce, and go home with the creators of technology startups. In SoMa they call her: The Founder Hounder.
But The Founder Hounder is more than any regular groupie and a far cry from the PR / investor relations girl of New York. She is well-educated, with a background in finance or strategy consulting. And it is this deep analytical training that has enabled her to ruthlessly assess herself and optimize her outcome.
“I looked at my options,” said Jennifer, a Harvard graduate and pioneering Founder Hounder. ‘VP of Corporate Development’ just didn’t sound as good as ‘Girlfriend of That Dropbox Dude.’”
As it turns out, The Founder Hounder may have the best business model in Silicon Valley. Unlike entrepreneurs, who end up tying all their risk to one venture, or VC’s who have to make numerous large bets in hopes of getting a handful of big hits, The Founder Hounder assumes zero risk and makes absolutely no commitments. She is able to do the deepest kind of diligence on a number of potential investments and, after she kicks the tires, cherry-pick a bet on her own terms.
Tim Draper, of Venture Capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, made the following observation of the Founder Hounder: “She has, easily, the most attractive risk-adjusted return profile in the entire early stage ecosystem.”
These young ladies don’t talk about Brazilian waxes or how much celery they don’t eat, they casually use phrases like “anti-dilution” and “restricted stock.”
“One of the first things she asked me was: what’s your monthly burn?” noted Sumeet, a young UMich grad with a “working prototype.”
The Founder Hounder has caused a dramatic role reversal. Entrepreneurs are famous for treating girls like distractions, chores they’d rather be able to avoid all together, like eating and sleeping. But good Founder Hounders have become jewels, modern day muses. They set such high return thresholds that they drive those they date to outperform even their most ambitious projections. Inspired by stories like that of Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding, they scoff at tiny multiples like 30x or 40x. Staying true to the Silicon Valley blueprint for business building, one deluded sense of self worth fuels the other.
And, like the entrepreneurs they attack, Founder Hounders have all read Steve Jobs’ biography and engineered their own deliberate personal quirk. Except theirs is not a T-Shirt stitched into a Blazer or distinct daily sets of argyle shoelaces. Their twist: abstinence.
Jeff, founder of an AirBnB meets Snapchat for seniors, related his experience.
“The first time I met Claire I was like: ok, this girl is an 8.5 and I haven’t seen anything above a 6 in months. And after 3 dates: nothing. We’ve gone hiking, hit Napa, I’ve casually exposed my eight pack. I can’t do anything to impress her. Then I hear about the other guys she’s dated, and it clicks.
So I start rattling off metrics: user growth, repeat visitors, viral coefficients. She just sits there, playing with her iPhone, huffing occasionally, unimpressed. I even open up Google Analytics on my iPad at dinner and show her our average 15 minute time on site (first time visitors). But NOTHING. I couldn’t pry the Lululemon’s off of her.”
“After 3 weeks, I’m thinking: what do I have to do to fuck this bitch? IPO?”
We were able to catch Claire after Pilates class in the Marina. Her cold, hard response: