Austin Clements is a partner at Slauson & Co., a Los Angeles based venture capital firm that provides pre-seed and seed funding to a range of founders. He’s a Kauffman fellow and has a strong interest in economic empowerment. He was previously Chair of Pledge LA, and alliance between LA’s venture capital community, the Annenberg Foundation, and the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti. He also holds a number of board roles.
We start by talking about his upbringing in LA, his time at Morehouse College and how his taste of business there left him determined to find a job in venture capital. We hear how his initial search came up dry, but how he persisted and fulfilled his goal eventually.
We talk about the difficulty in threading the needle of supporting deserving founders and sifting through 100s of prospects to find the gem. Austin’s philosophy is to get behind people, that are delusional with their vision, but pragmatic with their execution. He says that they want people that have a vision that’s almost unsettling about how big it is, and what they want to grow their company to be. But they also need to be very pragmatic in the sense of they know what the first few steps look like.