A Profile of Lee Fixel, who Bet on Flipkart and Peloton and Made Billions
Lee Fixel was the first investor that expressed interest in Peloton in 2014. CEO John Foley pitched his fitness startup and media company, highlighting its internet-connected stationary bike, recurring subscription revenue, and rising potential.
Fixel saw similarities to other disruptive consumer brands, saying “I’m in, shut down the round, I’ll wire $5 million next week.”
Foley recalls, “There was a lot to like that he saw and nobody else saw.”
Tiger, Lee Fixel’s firm, was the largest investor when Peloton went public in September. The 20% of holdings that Tiger now trades hit $16 billion amidst the surge of users in pandemic lockdown.
Fixel informed Tiger that he would leave; some say Fixel had tired of the multifaceted decision-making process at the firm. Departing Tiger ended Fixel’s long standing partnership with Midas List regular Scott Shleifer and Tiger founder Chase Coleman III.
Fixel will run Addition, a new multi-stage venture capital firm, as the sole partner at the top, aiming to groom investors for eventual partner roles. Fixel raised $1.3 billion for Addition, being the largest investor in his own funds, an uncommon move for billion-dollar venture funds. Addition plans to invest one-third in early-stage startups and two-thirds in growth-stage opportunities.
Fixel made one of Addition’s first public-facing investments in Fauna, a NoSQL database software company, founded by previous leaders of Twitter infrastructure, which just raised $27 million. Fixel invested quickly in April, despite the uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauna co-founder and CTO Evan Weaver said, “He’s been willing to make contrarian and aggressive long-term bets.” Addition is also anticipating a deal with Stedi, a business-to-business messaging platform.
Fixel confirmed the closing of his new fund: “We are excited to partner with visionary entrepreneurs, and with our 15-year fund duration, we have the patience to support our portfolio companies on their journey to build impactful and enduring businesses.”
Entrepreneurs express little surprise that Fixel set up his own shingle. “I was surprised he didn’t before,” says Demet Mutlu, CEO of Trendyol Group, a Turkish e-commerce company. “The way he is as an investor, he very much has a founder mentality.”
Fixel conducts upfront research first when he courts startups for deals. Glenn Kelman, CEO of publicly-listed real estate site Redfin, recalls a meeting with Fixel: “He said, I interviewed your customers, your employees, your ex-employees, your competitors. And we want to talk about why margins in San Diego in Q3 of last year were off.”
Fixel’s founders say he is trying to prove his worth and his ability to provide support on high-level strategy and product. “He has this way of appreciative inquiry that leads you down to this place of understanding the big opportunity,” says Julia Hartz, cofounder and CEO of Eventbrite.