A lot of zeros scared off many investors, but there were a few visionaries that saw the huge potential and Serik Kaldykulov, founding partner at Silicon Valley based VC firm Elefund happened to be one such investor.

After arriving from Kazakhstan in 2005 to pursue a degree in Finance, Serik soon found his niche as a public equities investor and by combining his interest in Sociology, Economics, and Finance he turned $10K into $5M from his dorm room within a couple of years.

With Robinhood in the Elefund portfolio, Serik went on to invest in early rounds of hot startups such as Calm, Carta, and Hyperloop One.

Using Robinhood as backdrop we asked Serik to share his process of investing in startups.

Serik’s investment model shows us his unique view of the world as he applies first principles of Sociology, Economics, and Finance to the world of early stage venture.

This is underscored by Baiju Prafulkumar Bhatt, Co-Founder of Robinhood as he tells us that “Serik was one of the very first investors in Robinhood. When we met him, we were immediately impressed: he was a thoughtful, self-made investor who relied on first principles to make decisions. Over the years he has been a valuable partner for the business and Robinhood would not be where it is today without Serik.”

As Serik exclaims, investors should understand the depth of the problem not just the size of the market.