How Turner raised $35M with memes

Using humor to become an elite investor.

Dear shitposter, Gaut here. Welcome back to all 3,300+ humor enthusiasts of Shitposting Works, a weekly email where I cover the week's best trends, memes, and the topic of shitposts across the internet. I've begun curating a list of my favorite accounts on Twitter, called the ⭐️ All Star List ⭐️ - Where I will be adding up and coming memers and shitposters. To access it, you just need to refer 1 person to Shitposting Works at the bottom of the newsletter.

Post of the Week: Interview with Turner Novak

💡 How Turner raised a $35M fund using memes

This week I had the chance to interview Turner Novak, one of my favorite people in the memeverse, and probably the most likable VC you'll ever meet. Turner is the brains behind Banana Capital, a fund that he started in part thanks to his memes and shitposting on platforms like twitter and tiktok:

What makes Turner special is that he wasn't plugged into the tech scene. He did all of this from his home state of Michigan, which meant he just *had* to be online to succeed at raising his fund. Turner found his niche and built his network through twitter, instead of through a traditional background. Sharing serious content, replying to popular VCs, building funny content, and making his brand known.

What I love about Turner is that his story proves you can go from "outsider" to "insider" with humor. Breaking into VC (or other areas for that matter) is just a matter of joining the conversation, and sooner or later driving it with memes. 

Onto the interview:

What made you start shitposting and memes?

Back in 2017 / 2018 I started writing online with the goal of making the jump into a venture capital investing role. I met a few people who ran meme accounts and would brainstorm ideas with them. My "ghost written" memes / shitposts started doing better than my serious stuff, and eventually started doing it under my own name (I think this was the first one).

Were you ever worried about your image being “too playful”?

Yes, and a lot of people told me not to do it. A friend also reminded me that I write very serious 10k word blog posts, so I shouldn't worry too much about it. I think of it as "come for the meme, stay for the memo". I think there's a subset of people who don't like it, but you can't please every one.

Do you think it gives you an advantage as an investor?

Absolutely. Too many people take themselves way too seriously. My job is to meet and build trust with talented and ambitious founders as early as possible. Often times this means showing your personality, and playfully poking fun of things is one way to do that. It also helps give me an understanding of internet marketing and culture, which is really helpful a consumer investor.

I also had a thesis that the best founders don't actually need advice from VC's, at least when it comes to content. So my tweets are either absolute nonsense (memes and shitposts) or detailed thoughts and opinions around late stage and publicly traded companies. It might be counter intuitive, but I think it attracts the type of founders that want to build similar companies.

How has this strategy played out so far?

I think it's worked pretty well! Pretty unexpected, but Banana was the #2 solo GP and #2 ranked two-person team according to the Founders Choice VC Leaderboard that came out a few weeks ago. I wrote my first check in Q4 of 2019, so it's still very early, but as of today I've had three exits and four seed investments that are now unicorns (based on prior rounds or public comps). So I think the founders we're getting in front of and working with are very high quality.

Almost 100% of the founders I meet are already very familiar with me and Banana, so we don't spend much if any time on outbound or trying to pitch and sell ourselves to founders. This gives more capacity to spend time with and add value to existing portfolio companies vs always seeking out the next deal. My intuition is this will lead to good cash returns to our investors over the next decade.

What would you recommend to a shitposter starting out?

It's not a glamorous life. Be prepared for 16-20 hour days, especially when you fire off multiple bangers in one afternoon.

On a more serious note, as with like this, find an under served niche in something you're naturally curious and/or passionate about. Create content around it and then expand over time.

If you want to get into shitposting / memes more specifically, I'd think about what the long-term goal is. Is it just for fun? Is it as some sort of marketing? Either is fine, and for me if (I'm going to get analytical about it) it's worked very well as a top of funnel for brand awareness.

Who is your favorite content creator?

I loved the early days of the Lonely Island. I am/was also a big fan of Avicii and his ability to consistently create (I've listened to every single one of his old remixes 100's of times)

If you want to find out more about Turner, you can watch JCal's hour and a half interview, follow him on Twitter and TikTok, sign up for his newsletter (The Split), read by 16K+ founders, investors, and everyone in between.

Turner is closing out his second fundraise. Read more about it and get involved here.

🐦 Tweets of the Week

This is not even a shitpost, but I had to cover it

ICYMI, Elon got himself in a world of trouble by publicly conducting an employee review of Haraldur Thorleifsson (who's startup, Ueno, was acquired by Twitter in 2021 for $100M) after Halli got locked out of his devices and came to twitter to ask Elon if he still had a job. Here's the rest of the story in the public tweets:

Matrix was doing some fancy stuff

There's something about "never meeting your heroes"

More havoc on the timeline

Apparently, there's a new movement on tiktok that involves faking you worked at Twitter. You should probably give this video a watch.

Remember Eric?

Well, he blew up. And I'm interviewing him next week:

How to dress based on where you are

Such a simple image, but such a powerful message.

RIP Percent

There was a company, Percent, literally building this. I still love the idea:

Ahhh the proverbial "good old days"

Another week another doordash screenshot

POV: HR is about to fire you

This one had me laugh. A lot.

You can make it

Getting a bed frame is possible guys. I promise.

📈 Creator on the Rise

Jaiya is an underrated shitposter, and I personally love her tweets. I will call out that Jaiya is part of gen z (like me), so expect the unexpected. 

Who are the most underrated shitposters?

Drop me a reply - say hi! Also, I'm running the NYC marathon this year and raising money for Autism Speaks. If you enjoy this content, any donations help! 

Keep on Shitposting,

– Gaut

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