We had the optimistic view that location would be all-important, Altman said. The pessimistic view was that people would lie on their couches and just consume contentand that is what happened. I learned you cant make humans do something they dont want to do. In 2012, he and the other founders sold the company for forty-three million dollarsa negative return for their V.C.s. One of Altmans co-founders at Loopt, Nick Sivo, was also his boyfriend; the two dated for nine years, but after the company sold they broke up. I thought I was going to marry himvery in love with him, Altman said. At loose ends, he launched a small venture fund, Hydrazine Capital. He raised twenty-one million dollars, including a significant investment from Peter Thiel and much of the five million dollars hed made selling Loopt, then invested seventy-five per cent of the fund in YC companies. He had a knack for finding opportunity in chaos. Altman told me that he led the B round at Reddit, a chronically disorganized YC graduate, because you want to invest in messy, somewhat broken companies. You can treat the warts on top, and because of the warts the company will be hugely underpriced. Hydrazine has grown tenfold in value in just four years, but, despite its success, Altman recoiled from venture capital. Youre trying to find a company that will be successful with or without you, then convince them to take your money instead of somebody elses, and at a lower price, he said.
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