The Common Denominator Among Our 25 Startup Investments

Patrick Riley
4 min readSep 27, 2019


This past week, I took a look at the 25 investments that GAN Ventures has made so far. Mostly, I was just checking to see who I’ve followed up with lately and who else I should reach out to so that I could say hello and see how things were going.

But while looking over the list, I started to wonder if there might be any common denominators across the group. Meaning, I started to ask myself, “Is there any similar trait or feature that each of the companies in the GAN Ventures portfolio share?”

Obviously, the answer should always be “yes,” only because we look for a few specific traits in companies we choose:

  1. We look for very high-growth companies. Meaning, companies that are poised for returns you’d expect in a venture fund.
  2. We look for incredibly authentic and self-aware leaders.
  3. And, we look for founding teams with a clear mission (a guiding “North Star”) and a path they’re marching toward.

But, there’s one thing that really stood out when I looked back over our list of investments to date and it’s the fourth trait we look for when considering companies —

A deep-seated passion for what they’re building.

They all joyfully know more about their product than any person might think is “normal” for anyone to know about anything and they all get a ton of joy from continuing to learn about it.

Take Ambit Analytics. It’s a company whose product helps managers understand the impression their voice has on others. The team at Ambit is obsessed with understanding how our intonation affects other people around us.

Take Western Rise. It’s a performance clothing company. Their founder, Will, is a third-generation “thread master.” He’s obsessed with understanding the materials that make up our clothes. He won’t stop (and probably can’t stop) building great clothes. It’s in his blood.

Or take the team over at Ganaz. Hannah, their founder, is building a company that’s helping farmworkers be connected to farms in a way that’s efficient for both the farmer and the worker. She has a deep-seated passion for helping people who rarely get help in a really difficult job (i.e. farmworkers). Because of…



Patrick Riley

Helping to give startups the power to create and grow their business wherever they are as CEO of GAN: @GANconnect