Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Grumpy Old Venture Capitalists

Last week I attended a panel session entitled “Grumpy Old Venture Capitalists” which was hosted by Club Entrepreneur, a local club that hosts semi-monthly lunches for those in the entrepreneurial community. Norm Dann, Andy Greenshields, Richard Perkins, and John Trucano (a.k.a. the Grumpy Old Venture Capitalists (GOVCs) shared stories about their best deals and what they have learned from their investment failures over their past combined 100 years in the venture capital world. The event was extremely well-attended–I mean who could resist learning from venture capitalists who have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (and I don’t mean the movie)?!?

Several of the questions during the panel session inevitably focused on what the GOVCs look for when determining if they are going to invest in a company. Not surprisingly, the response was unanimous—they look for a company with the right people. They want to see a company comprised of people who are passionate about the company’s product or service and are working non-stop to make the enterprise a success. One panelist added that he’s not going to be impressed if he meets with an executive who has a nice tan or boasts about what a low handicap he or she has. They want to see executives who live and breathe their businesses.

The bottom line: if you’re running a start-up, it better be the focus of your team members’ lives. If you’re an entrepreneur, take a moment to think–do you have the right people in your organization? Does each person contribute something unique to the organization? Do your team members execute their ideas effectively and successfully? It’s the right people that drive innovation and create success. As the GOVCs highlighted, it’s the people that can make or break your company.

Are you willing to bet your company’s future on your current team members?

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