Boris Wertz is one of the top tech early-stage investors in North America and the founding partner of Version One Ventures, an early-stage fund investing in outstanding consumer internet, SaaS and mobile entrepreneurs throughout North America. He is also a board partner with Andreessen Horowitz, and was a co-founder of GrowLab before it became HIGHLINE (which he is a personal investor in).
Before becoming an investor, Boris was the COO of AbeBooks.com, where he led a team of 70 people before the company sold to Amazon in 2008. This deep operational experience helps him guide other entrepreneurs to start, build and scale companies. After that, he founded W Media Ventures, which has since become Version One, a $15 million micro-VC fund with investments that include AngelList, Clarity, Indiegogo, Unbounce, Clio, Mattermark, Indochino, Weddingful, Techvibes Media, Chloe & Isabel, Wattpad, GoInstant (sold to Salesforce), and Summify (sold to Twitter).
Boris finished his PhD at the Graduate School of Management, Koblenz, majoring in Business Economics & Business Management. In 2005, he was named the Pacific Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year.
6 Questions with VC Boris Wertz
What key advantages do you see HIGHLINE offering over other accelerators (past and present)?
HIGHLINE offers the best brand, best mentor network, best investor network, and strong ties into the US (comparing to other Canadian accelerators).
What impact do you foresee HIGHLINE having on the Canadian and/or global ecosystem?
Dozens of new companies will be funded every year, creating hundreds of new jobs—and perhaps we will see the next Canadian tech startup unicorn emerging from those companies.
You’ve met hundreds of founders and seen countless startups. Are there any particular trends you have your eye on, or technologies you’re excited about?
- Bitcoin / Blockchain
- Virtual Reality
- AI / ML
- Mobile enterprise software
What is the importance of mentorship in the startup world? Have you (or do you have) mentors who have supported you in your career?
Mentors are super-important and I wished I’d had one.
What piece of advice do you find yourself consistently sharing with entrepreneurs?
Solve a problem you are really passionate about.
Why is connectivity to other cities/ecosystems (like SF, NY) crucial for today’s tech founder?
No market is insular. You need to measure yourself with the best.