Slater Stich

Slater Stich partners with early-stage founders in infrastructure, with a focus on tools for data teams. He’s interested in practical products that make life better for the working software engineer, data scientist or other technical IC.

Bay Area

About Slater

What’s the first company you invested in?

The first investment I made was Replicate. To me, it’s a story about how the product can tell you a lot about the founders. Today, Replicate is known for making it easy to publish and run open source AI models, but at the time they were building a lightweight ML version control system. I had previously tried out a ton of these tools, and was generally disappointed with them — they were either super clunky, or not a big improvement on using git plus saving your model weights and hyper-params. But when I tried Replicate, I loved how effortless it felt to use, and how it solved a bunch of versioning problems in the background, without you even thinking about them. Using the tool helped me understand the decisions Ben and Andreas had made, and some of the technical problems they had solved. I knew I wanted to invest in founders who could make products like that.


Do you have an investment ethos?

I get most excited about tools that solve a tangible problem for a technical team. I like to understand how the product makes life better for the working data scientist, software engineer, AI researcher, growth PM, etc. Early-stage investing is all about the people, and I find the best way to get to know founders (and vice versa) is to talk about the problem they’re solving.

What are your interests outside of BCV?

I like to read economic history, and the history of technology. I’m particularly interested in hard limitations we’ve overcome — making overland transport 100x cheaper, going from chronic malnutrition to a surplus of calories, etc. I’m a sucker for Moore’s Law-type graphs showing a general purpose technology getting exponentially faster/cheaper/better over time.

I also like to go surfing. I learned in middle school, and stuck with it. I grew up in New Smyrna Beach, both one of the best surf spots on Florida’s Atlantic coast and the “shark bite capital of the world” for many years running.


What advice would you give your younger self?

It’s hard to go wrong working with earnest people who have a long-term focus.

What is compelling about your domain?

Infrastructure software makes the world go round. Because software is so fundamental to our tech economy today, improvements at the infra layer are incredibly high-leverage. If you make something that lets software engineers build 10% better or 10% faster, that has huge compounding effects on the global economy.

At the same time, it seems like it’s still very early. A lot of software infra feels way harder than it needs to be. I remember a Planet Money episode from a few years back where they explained that, before Excel, people updated spreadsheets on physical paper using a pencil and a hand-held calculator. We’re doing things in infra today that will look similarly insane in retrospect.


What is a self-care ritual you practice?

I don’t know about self-care, but I bought a rowing machine in 2021 and spend a lot of time on it. I recently learned that my all-out 2k wattage is significantly less than what you need to toast a slice of bread.


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