How Upfront Ventures’ Kobie Fuller Keeps a ‘Performance Mindset’

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Upfront Ventures’ Kobie Fuller​
Courtesy of Kobie Fuller

On this episode of LA Venture, Upfront Ventures partner Kobie Fuller talks about his approach to investing, understanding users’ needs and why he tries to keep a ‘neutral’ mindset.

Fuller is also the co-founder and chairman of Valence, a community and network for Black professionals.


Only four CEOs in the Fortune 500 are Black, Fuller noted, adding that more work needed to be done to empower Black professionals and give them opportunities to meet. This became the mission for Valence.

Valence provides its community of Black professionals more exposure and access to senior-level Black professionals and creates a network to help them get support and advice.

“We take a digital community and connect them with, one, each other. And, two, entities that want to find ways in which they can fund, empower, hire and input [them] on board positions,” said Fuller. “It was an idea that came to me, really, because I was frustrated it didn't exist.”

Fuller started his venture career at Insight Venture Partners, cold-calling and sourcing investment opportunities. In any given week, he’d make around 100 calls to founders he thought might be interested in investing with the firm.

“It's a lot of sales to be quite honest,” said Fuller.

Prior to that, Fuller developed his research skills as the chief marketing officer at Revolve as the company was undergoing a rebranding process, where he took a deep dive through focus groups to understand what people like about the brand. That process came in handy later in his career when, as an investor at Accel Partners, he invested in UserTesting. He still encourages portfolio companies to focus on user testing.

"If you're not understanding the voice of the consumer in a way where you can develop product and design for this,” Fuller said, ”what's going to happen is you're going to wake up one day and realize that you've been leapfrogged by someone else who asked."

Even as a successful professional, Fuller said the color of his skin plays a role in how he’s perceived in a landscape that’s primarily white. “That's just the facts of the matter,” he said, adding that Black professionals still have to work much harder in order to get credit for their efforts.

“I just have to be very aware of what it takes,” Fuller said. “Don't complain about it, and just do it and have a neutral mindset.”

That concept, of the ‘neutral mindset’, came from Trevor Moawad, a personal friend of Fuller’s who served as a mentor to a number of professional Black athletes and investors, including Seattle Seahawks quarterback and investor Russell WIlson. Fuller credits Moawad with introducing him to the concept of the “performance mindset” and the notion that negative thinking has a massive impact on performance.

“If you actually articulate negative thoughts out loud, it actually has a potential seven to 10-x multiplier effect,” Fuller said.

That insight had a profound impact on how Fuller views his challenges. He said it taught him “don't be negative, just be neutral–neutralize the negativity, because that will get you in the mindset around what you actually have to do next, which is focusing on the next step.”

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Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

​Diankha Linear
Diankha Linear

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admin@dot.la

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Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

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“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

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