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Greg Ruben / Axios

Lightspeed Venture Partners was the first institutional investor in Snap, investing $485,000 back in April 2012. The company would ultimately invest a total of $8.1 million, which was valued at nearly $1.5 billion at the IPO price.

Jeremy Liew was the Lightspeed partner who led that early deal ― back when the company was still called Snapchat ― and spoke via phone with Axios on the occasion of Snap's mammoth IPO.

On how Snap fit into Lightspeed's investment thesis:

"One of the things we've always looked for are companies that can become part of popular culture, and we believe that young women are the early adopters of pop culture. This is true if you look at Facebook or Instagram or Tumblr or even MySpace back in the day. We saw the same thing when we first met with Snap, and it has only solidified our belief that user adoption by young women is a good indicator of something that could go mainstream."

On Evan Spiegel becoming a public company CEO:

"Evan has been a masterful leader in the five years since we invested. Not just product leadership, but also business leadership. He has made a lot of smart and prescient moves over the years."

On (the lack of) profits:

"Evan has always talked about the importance of building companies that are long-term sustainable, and profitability is a part of it, even if they aren't there yet."

What it means to Los Angeles tech:

"Los Angeles and New York, have always been the two cities with their fingers on the pulse of pop culture. Silicon Valley doesn't. I don't think that the IPO itself is the big change factor, but it's part of an ongoing trend in which Los Angeles entrepreneurs feel they can now leverage their local advantage to start companies that could become really successful."

Do you feel differently about pro rata rights on seed rounds than when you first backed Snap?

"Market is the most important determinant. Back before there were a lot of seed funds, it was mostly standard VC firms doing seed deals. We typically look to get ownership positions of 20% and up, so are always looking for opportunities to increase our ownership. But markets change. Now there are a lot of seed funds so the terms that are expected have changed. If you don't match the market, you aren't going to get the deal."

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.