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Please take a moment and make a financial contribution to TheFunded. If we have helped you, help us with resources to further grow the both the site and our entrepreneur training program, The Founder Institute.

Andy Fillat

Partner Rating:

Rated 4.9 / 5.0 by 7

Partner Information:

Title:     Managing Member

Location:  Menlo Park, US West

Blog:      Andy Fillat

Firm Rating:

Rated 3.9 / 5.0 by 31

Firm Information:

Company:   Leapfrog Ventures

Type:      Medium Private VC

URL:       Firm Homepage

PERSONAL SPECIALTY:

FIRM DESCRIPTION: We are a team of successful entrepreneurs who know what it takes to build a thriving company from the ground up. We structure management friendly deals that make sure the founders are as motivated as the investors to make the deal a financial success. Once invested, we help you through the tough decisions you will face growing the firm. Since 2000, our fund has had more successful exits as a percentage of deals invested in than any other VC fund. If you want to make money on your company, call us first.

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Great Feedback and Coaching

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Simon on 2013-12-12

PUBLIC:

My company is outside the core of Leapfrog Ventures and normally I would not approach such a VC. However, I was attracted by having two principals who are entrepreneurs and MIT engineers. ie I felt these partners are the type that truly earned their stripes and they are not some green finance geeks who could not manage the local 7-11 yet acts like he is God's gift to Venture Financing (you know the type I am describing). I was pleasantly surprised to get a quick response indicating that this was outside their core (which of course I already knew). However, knowing my company is outside their core, I thought that would be a good place to practice the pitch and ask some feedback. I was pleasantly surprised that Peter agreed to meet me for an hour and listen to the pitch and provide feedback. Within about 24 hours of initial contact, I met Peter in Menlo Park. He listened to the pitch attentively and provided some great feedback on the pitch, on the story, on what is missing. He provided some suggestions on addressing the (internal) questions that a VC would have listening to the pitch that I needed to proactively address. Most VC's don't even offer any feedback and Pete not only offered feedback but also provided some coaching and good advice. Truly you can tell that he is a class act. To top it all, he took the time to do this in mid December when everyone is usually really pressed for time. Bottom line, this is a super classy VC and I would highly recommend Leapfrog

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Didn't Invest but Good Response

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2012-07-03

PUBLIC:

I contacted Pete with my plan and he responded very promptly stating that he really liked that concept, however, they were at the end of their investing period for fund II and were focusing on later stage deals. His feedback was great and positive and encouraging. I was hoping to get a referal from him to any other firms but that didn't happen. Overall though, Pete was great with his response.

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Appreciate the Fact They Got Back to Me with Advice

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by onthedot on 2010-09-04

PUBLIC:

I really appreciated the fact that Andy took the time to get back to me with feedback. Most VCs I've approached don't care enough to even respond, which I think is very unprofessional.

Andy let me know they don't do life sciences type investing, but also gave me some feedback about defending against competitors, which I found very helpful. It also showed his understanding of business, and I have incorporated the feedback into our investment summary.

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Leapfrog Treats the Entrepreneur as a Partner.

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-10

PUBLIC:

We received B round funding from Leapfrog for our SaaS start-up. But they are much more valuable then just their money, especially for a first time CEO like myself. They are smart, direct, adding great value in terms of business perspective and mentoring. Because of their operating backgrounds and experience they help anticipate what’s around the next corner and provide perspective on what it will take to build a big-time company. They truly understand the tangibles and intangibles of a start-up, demonstrating real empathy as a business partner. And they are always there when you need them. Highly recommend.

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Smart Guys

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by ShoeshineBoy on 2011-12-01

PUBLIC:

Pete S. and Andy weren't interested in my company, but they asked smarter questions than most of the VCs I've pitched, and they gave me quality advice. So it wasn't a wasted meeting. I saw the comments from others that they aren't into technology. All I can say is that they were very up to date on my product area, and more importantly they had a very good understanding of the dynamics of my business. Maybe the difficulty is that when you're dealing with a two-person firm, they can't be equally knowledgeable about every part of the industry.

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Good People, Experience Shows

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-03-22

PUBLIC:

The partners at Leapfrog are good people. Yes, they are direct, but they give you direct feedback which is better than just niceties. They will challenge your assumptions, and why shouldn't they, its their money you are spending. If you have the data and can justify your decisions, they will support you 100%.

They have strong operational and board experience. It shows in their comments and guidance. They are responsive and there to support your emerging company and grow it as they have seen many other companies grow in the past. They also have good experience in the security space.

Definitely recommend you give them a look for early stage funding.

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Nice People , Did Not Prepare

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by stokman-2000 on 2008-11-11

PUBLIC:

Very nice people . Were not prepared at all in terms of the space. My advice is to send material early on ,and make sure they understand the space you are in. As usual it is easier to sell , than educate and sell in the same session.

PRIVATE: Members Only (202 Characters)

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Nice Niche on Sand Hill Road

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by GonzoBreath on 2008-09-29

PUBLIC:

Besides being completely transparent and no-nonsense guys, Leapfrog also fills a large niche on Sand Hill Road for two reasons â€"

They do early stage investingâ€" Every firm will tell you they fund early stage companies, but the fact is you have a snow-ball’s chance in Hades of actually seeing fruit from most firms, especially the larger ones. They will all agree to see your pitch, but not for the purpose of funding you. Leapfrog is one of the few exceptions and does in fact fund ‘start-ups’. They understand the needs and workings of start-ups very well and make great early stage partners.

They do not require IPO potential â€" For the larger funds, if you do not have the potential for IPO, you simply don’t have enough to move the needle with a 10x exit. With the near extinction of IPOs as of late, I am surprised this attitude survives. Leapfrog is realistic and manages their fund accordingly. Like all funds, the higher the return the better, but, Leapfrog also recognizes there are good deals out there with strong acquisition potential and solid returns.

Leapfrog is a fine friend to the traditional start-up. In our case, we wasted far too many cycles pitching large firms who we had no business pitching to because we did not understand the two points above.

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Efficient, Straight forward, and Reasonable

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by HI-IQT on 2008-09-29

PUBLIC:

Leapfrog's diligence process was quick and mostly painless. They were able to get to a decision with minimal running around which was nice and different from some other VCs that seemed to ask for a mountain of paperwork just because they could.

They are straightforward. We always knew exactly where we stood with them and even when the feedback wasn't great, it was good to know what they were thinking.

In negotiating deal terms, they were very reasonable. At times the attorneys would propose something and Leapfrog would tell them to keep the terms more straightforward which helped get the deal closed when it could have gotten even more complicated.

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Good Group. One of the Better Ones.

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by rwilliams on 2008-07-19

PUBLIC:

You get a decent deal from these guys. Not a bad group. They are a little young about some things.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Professional

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-08

PRIVATE: Members Only (328 Characters)

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Turned Down but Gave US the Rationale

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by spayandneuteryourpet on 2008-05-07

PUBLIC:

We just had an excellent experience with Leapfrog Ventures. While they did say NO, they told us exactly why and their rationale made sense. They spent some time and thought explaining their feedback to us which was very helpful. It also gave us a blueprint for what we need to do next.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Leapfrog Ventures

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by jsamzelius on 2007-09-08

PUBLIC:

Last week, I pitched to Pete Sinclair. He was the most knowledgable and best prepared VC I have presented to. He validated several of our key points and problem-solved with us in remaining issues. Very different from other VCs!

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Pete Sinclair Rocks!

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by murtiii on 2007-09-07

PUBLIC:

Pete Sinclair rocks! Just signed a term sheet with him. We had 2 other term sheets, one from a top tier VC and choose him. Reason: Simple. Cutting all the VC top tier BS aside, we feel he is someone who would roll up his sleeves and build this company with us.

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Overall a Great VC Partner

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by anonymous on 2007-08-30

PUBLIC:

I worked with Leapfrog (Pete Sinclair) post Peter Rip leaving, and I would highly recommend Leapfrog/Pete S as a fund to work with. As an entrepreneur, I highly value "no BS" input/feedback which Pete does not hesitate to provide - vs. the "run-around" you get with other VC's. In addition, his operational experience and insights were invaluable.

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How to Get Through a Pitch Uninterrupted

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by muse on 2007-07-23

PUBLIC:

One thing about Leapfrog - they all made the meeting and they actually heard the entire pitch without interrupting. But make sure the partners are all on the same page - or staying around a while.

PRIVATE: Members Only (954 Characters)

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Working with Leapfrog and Pete Sinclair Has Been Great!

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-25

PUBLIC:

Having pitched a good number of VC to get our first round of funding we found many that were nothing more then a potential check book. The guys at Leapfrog with their marketing and operational background have been phenomenal to work with.

PRIVATE: Members Only (119 Characters)

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Pete Sinclair is as Smart as They Come

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by aviterima on 2007-05-09

PUBLIC:

Too often VC's are simply nothing more than money guys. They have little to no operating experience and therefore can provide little to no real added value or advice. Nothing wrong with getting access to the money but hopefully there is something more to a venture capital relationship than a valuation and a round. Bucking this trend is Pete Sinclair who is an experienced serial enterpreneur in his own right. As a result he has insights and experience that can only be gained by having sat in a CEO's chair. This is refreshing in a world made up of Suits (that just happen to dress casually since they are in California)...

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Not Sure How They are Now Without Peter

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-09

PUBLIC:

I only ever associated Leapfrog with Peter Rip and I am not sure how they are now that he has moved on to Crosslink, or if they are even still investing in new deals. You might want to get a better opinion of the other two partners there as most of the ratings here are closely linked to Peter Rip

PRIVATE: Members Only (115 Characters)

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Good Insight, Fair Deal

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by mansoursalame on 2007-05-07

PUBLIC:

My experience with LeapFrog has been very positive on the whole. They are able to make decisions quickly, are willing to invest in a Contrarian idea. My experience is that Pete is very technical and has been able to give me a good management perspective on a technical issue that came up, therefore I disagree with a previous post saying that they do not understand technology. I have not had much experience with the other partners

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Peter and Pete

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

I disagree with some of the other comments here. Peter and Pete invested in our company because of the technology IP (we had lots of Ph.Ds). They are super smart and were quick to "get the idea" and made a decision to invest in 48 hours. You can't expect anymore than that. Their governance has been very even handed and fair.

Peter is one of the few VCs who can deal with very early stage ideas. Even though he has moved on Crosslink you should feel free to pitch him early in your process as he can deal with seeing half baked plans better than most.

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Quick Decisions, Good Terms, Good Operating Assistance

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by OtherPeoplesMoney on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Being a smaller firm, the Leapfrog Ventures partners were able to come to a decision quickly. Some larger partnerships that we talked to took a long time to get consensus within their teams before generating term sheets. We decided to go with Leapfrog for a Series A, instead of some much larger funds, because they were quick decision makers and we agreed on some decent terms. We also thought that they might be more amenable to working with founding management teams, rather than some other firms that have a reputation for being more invasive.

Post-funding we found that Pete Sinclair was great to deal with, and provided very helpful operating assistance. He gets our business, and is a real advocate for us. Leapfrog has also been supportive in follow-on financing.

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They are Willing to Take Chances and Buck the Trend

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by thermocline on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Have gotten funding from these guys twice - my last company returned nicely for them. To be honest we were pitching an at fist glance less then sexy technology that none of the other VCs seemed to get at least not during the dot.com era. Pete Sinclair was one of the few VCs that saw and understood the potential when we sought A financing. When we went for series B a lot of the firms that turned us down during the A round suddenly wanted in on the B. The point I'm trying to make is that these guys will take chances; they don't only go with the flow that the rest of the VC community rides. I've found them and particularly Pete to be a good partner.

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Not Into Technology" I Have to Agree

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by semiguy on 2007-03-28

PUBLIC:

I've pitched Mark and Peter and would fully agree that they are not particularly technology saavy. Nice, pleasant but not cutting edge.

PRIVATE: Members Only

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Good People, Not Into Technology

Fund: Leapfrog Ventures

Posted by Maverick on 2007-03-20

PUBLIC:

I have pitched Peter Rip and Pete Sinclair. They are intelligent and certainly understand startups. They do not, however, appear sure-footed when it comes to technology-intensive products. I believe someone with a Web 2.0 kind of play could do much worse than Leapfrog.

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