The following figure self-summarizes venture guy Vinod Khosla’s investment returns by amount invested, and then stratified by whether he had a board seat. The upshot: His highest returns came disproportionately from investments where he put in less than $1m, and from where he had a board seat.
The latter isn’t much of a surprise, as the relationship between board seats and investment performance are well know, but the former is interesting. Too many venture investors don’t want to play in initial rounds where they can’t put in the requisite $2-$6m, so they don’t even look at sub-$1m rounds. As Khosla’s figures show, returns from seed rounds are impressive, to say the least.
Caveats: First, the period included the latter years of the tech boom, so there is a huge potential confound here. Second, any venture investor who has success rates in excess of 60% across the board, and 100% in seed, is an anomaly by any reasonable definition of the word.