Post Creator: Madyson Watts

Standing Out in Venture Capital by Investing in Relationships

By ICR | Podcast

Venture Capital is all about the cash—but in a crowded field, money is cheap. To truly stand out, you have to go above and beyond for your investments. Today’s guest has set themselves apart by providing exceptional support.

We’re sitting down with Seth Spergel, who is a managing partner of Merlin Ventures, where he’s responsible for identifying cutting-edge companies for Merlin to partner with and invest in. Seth has more than 20 years of experience building, selling, and investing in software and startups.

Prior to Merlin Ventures, he was VP for Infrastructure Technologies at In-Q-Tel, a strategic investment firm that invests in startups that meet the mission needs of government customers. There he led a team of technology experts to evaluate companies and identify novel uses of their technology within the In-Q-Tel customer set.

Before In-Q-Tel, Seth was the VP of engineering for ThinkGeek, an online seller and manufacturer of geeky toys and clothing. He also spent 12 years at IBM in roles ranging from software developer to sales manager.


  • Merlin’s background and evolution into VC (3:55)
  • What differentiates Merlin in the VC market (7:32)
  • What an ideal portfolio looks like for Merlin (9:07)
  • Seth walks us through the support system Merlin provides their companies (9:55)
  • The unique guidance Merlin offers on compliance and political relations (13:46)
  • Seth tells the story of one of Merlin’s successful exits (15:37)
  • Seth’s advice for founders seeking funding (18:55)
  • Current trending market opportunities (19:31)
  • How cloud computing and migration are affecting the cybersecurity space (21:25)
  • Seth describes the current state of Isreal’s funding environment (22:52)
  • Values and culture at Merlin (26:36)
  • Seth’s predictions for the future of Merlin and the VC market (27:51)


Seth Spergel on LinkedIn

Merlin Ventures on LinkedIn

Merlin Ventures Website

ICR LinkedIn

ICR Twitter

ICR Website


If you have questions about the show, or have a topic in mind you’d like discussed in future episodes, email our producer,