The Download: Greggory Bordes, Front Porch Venture Partners

Greggory Bordes has nearly 20 years of experience across venture capital, private equity and public markets. Gregg is the Managing Partner of Front Porch Venture Partners in the Triangle, which he co-founded to help individual accredited investors and family offices attain diversified exposure to the Southeast’s top venture capital firms and startups.

Prior to co-founding Front Porch, he helped oversee a large North Carolina family office’s investment strategy, where he was responsible for the M&A process. Prior to that, he was the VP/Head of Research at venture-backed fintech YipitData in New York.

Previously he was at Hurley Capital in New York, Blum Capital Partners in San Francisco, Stone Tower Capital (now Apollo), AEA Investors in New York, and started his career as an analyst in the mergers & acquisitions group at Merrill Lynch.

Gregg received an MBA, with honors, from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics, cum laude, from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

1. What is in your pockets?

I carry very little in my pockets. Currently I have my cell phone and a Burt’s Bees Peppermint Lip Balm that I have been replacing regularly for at least the last 15 years.

2. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?

Nikin Shah, Joe Mancini and I started Front Porch Venture Partners for two primary reasons. First, we recognized the underfunding of multiple exciting startup ecosystems across the Southeast and wanted to do our part to help close this funding gap, and in turn help our communities grow and prosper in this new innovation centric economy.

Second, we wanted to provide the opportunity for a larger group of people to invest in venture capital given the asset class’s long-term relative outperformance. We set out to create a way for those investors to write one check and get exposure to 200+ startups, predominantly in the Southeast, while leveraging the specific skills and networks of the top VCs in the region. Given the underlying volatility of venture capital, this diversified approach is more appropriate for much of the investor market that can’t write $250,000-$1,000,000+ checks into at least 10 different funds to gain proper diversification.

Our investment strategy at Front Porch is a hybrid approach where we invest in top venture capital funds across the Southeast as well as directly into startups throughout the region. What is exciting for us right now is that we recently oversubscribed our $5 million initial fund and have deployed the majority of that capital in 13 top venture funds and 12 individual startups. The investment strategy we set out to execute has gone even better than we could have hoped. Investor interest exceeded our expectations and thus far the underlying portfolio has performed extremely well.

3. What is your favorite coffee spot?

I have been a fan of Beyu Caffe in Durham since shortly after it opened back in my days at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. I love the atmosphere, the focus on the local community and the owner Dorian Bolden just couldn’t be a nicer guy. I am also excited for their recent expansion to Boxyard RTP, which is fairly close to my house.

4. What keeps you up at night?

First, I take being a fiduciary to others’ money very seriously and many things go into being an outstanding fiduciary. Just to name a few for our particular strategy: Are we doing everything we can to maximize our investors’ net returns; are we partnering with the right venture funds; are we making the right direct startup investments; how can we improve our diligence process; how can we improve communication with our investors; and how can we further leverage the Front Porch community to increase returns and make a greater positive impact to the startup ecosystem? There are always ways to improve across these areas, so I don’t see this particular area of anxiety going away anytime soon.

Second, I stepped into Front Porch full time last fall because I clearly see an opportunity to scale this business and make a real contribution to the local Triangle startup community as well as other startup ecosystems across the Southeast. Even with our minimal fundraising efforts to date, we have seen that investors are hungry for a way to allocate a portion of their wealth to an intelligently constructed and well diversified venture portfolio. What keeps me up at night is that this means it is completely on us to put in the hard work and make the right decisions along the way to ensure we scale this business in a way that results in the impact we ultimately hope to make at Front Porch. The opportunity is there, so it’s on us to properly execute.

5. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?

My partners and I refer to Amberly Local in Northwest Cary as our “Global Headquarters.” All three of us live in neighborhoods close by and regularly use the tap room/cafe to meet with fund partners and entrepreneurs as well as bring our wives and kids together. It has a great atmosphere, is extremely kid-friendly and always has a long selection of great beers on tap. We are just trying to figure out how to get our mail delivered there!

6. What is next for you or your organization?

While we are still making new investments into startups from this first fund, now that we have wrapped up fundraising as well as new venture fund investments, our attention will be turning towards raising a second fund later this year. The investment strategy will remain the same, but to create the impact that we hope to make at Front Porch we will need to scale the size of our fund. We are looking forward to this challenge and really appreciate the support of our early investors who have given us the momentum to accelerate into this next phase.

About Brooks Malone 83 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.