Ash Rust

Ash Rust Field Notes
Ash Rust | VC Hunted!

Listen to “ASH RUST | Sterling Road – Venture Capitalists are a Mechanism to Stop Failure! | CHARGE MORE! – S1E4” on Spreaker.

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Ash Rust is a complete hoot. He had me laughing literally at the first second of when we turned on the cameras. Mostly telling me about his hair-routine and that B2B investments are far superior to B2C investments… 😉

Ash Rust #VCHunted Twitter Story – Used to love that Warhammer game!

After Ash sold his company in 2015, he found himself in the spotlight, with lot of his friends and network reaching out to him for help on their startups.

This began the journey into his first fund. Brought on by the needs of his network, Ash began to consider how to deploy capital to help even more people instead of building another company by being an investor rather than a vendor to his network.

“I really enjoy helping people in the very early stages of their project, so turning that into a job was my dream job.”

Ash Rust – VC Hunting S1E4

In 2017, Ash completed his first fund to the tune of $3M and is now on his second (already deploying capital)!

“I look at the data points of how people respond when a lot of money is at stake, as it’s a good reflection of how they are going to respond in other pressure situations over the next 10 years that they’ll be working with me, so watching a founder go through fundraising process is a huge advantage.”

Ash Rust – VC Hunting S1E4

Being so quotable, I really enjoyed Ash’s thoughts on being part of the pre-seed stage with his investments. He really enjoys working deeply with the founders and coaching them through arguably, the toughest stages of a startup, the beginning:

“I often say to people who come to San Francisco to raise money for their pre-seed that this is the most competitive professional environment you’re likely to encounter in your entire life, and you’re going to have to do 100 meetings to raise $1M in most cases.”

Ash Rust – VC Hunting S1E4

What is so great is that Ash actually is energized by the suffering and pain of early stage startups. Why?

“[Early stage startups] are the most exciting times, it’s where you get to focus most on your passion and get to work with your customers and really try to satisfy them. I love being part of that as a VC.”

Ash Rust – VC Hunting S1E4

Ash only does about 7-8 investments per year. He’s not the type to throw capital at companies just because they have a great pitch. It’s because he enjoys spending a ton of time with his investments after the check is cut, instead of throwing out 50 checks a year. It’s the close-relationship that he has with his investments that he feels helps them increase their chances of winning! With a 90% success rate of his startups succeeding so far (out of 20), he’s certainly got a great track record to start!

“I’m a good mechanism to stop failure for my startups.”

Ash Rust – VC Hunting S1E4

A great piece of advice Ash gives us is that many startups should focus on premium concierge services rather than great software (to start). Getting those first customers are so crucial for traction and success! He also loves giving out advice on Twitter:

He would also like to remind people that to say: “We don’t have any competition” is also a pretty dumb thing to say. 🙂

When it comes to rating his first fund on a scale from 1-10, Ash reminds us that he would rate his first fund an 12 out of 10!

Warhammer is a great game. He got 3rd in Blood Bowl like a good nerd 🙂

This conversation brought life to me and I really enjoyed learning more about Ash’s methods to investing, how he digs deep with his investments and founders, and spends the necessary time (that they need!) to win.

I wish the best to Ash and Sterling Road!

Ash Rust Retrospective

All the best,
Peter Saddington

Raw and in the wild!


Pre-formatted with cheese!

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Och, ya cannae beat the smell of fresh pine in the breeze.

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