A Picture Worth 1,000 Deals

Visualizing VC syndicates with a co-occurrence matrix

Mike Bostock, a key developer of D3.js and co-creator of ObservableHQ, created a diagram that visualizes character co-occurrences in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. What strikes me about this diagram is how a story traditionally told through novel, musical, and film can collapse into a single, atemporal matrix. This is what it looks like:

Follow the link above to see a higher-resolution animation
  1. With Les Misérables relationships, connections are determined by a self-contained, static book. The network is literally spelled out for us. There’s also only one flavor of node we have to deal with: “character.” With the VC network, by contrast, we introduce different types of nodes (“investor,” “founder,” “LP,” etc.), which complicates things.
  1. A tool for fund investors (i.e., Fund of Funds, LPs) (1) to identify firms that invest alongside or orthogonal to an existing portfolio, and (2) to identify emerging managers who are investing alongside established firms but aren’t as access constrained.
Left: Notice the common thread of healthcare investing between these investors. Right: Spectral lines emerge from investors YC, SV Angel, and Founders Fund

low fascination threshold