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Bringing Your VC Inside the Tent

May 29, 2010


Entrepreneurs are often curious to know what a VCs style is for working with his/her portfolio companies.  And, we usually respond with a bunch of bland generalizations about “collaboration,” “partnering,” “value-add,” blah,  blah, blah.

The reality is, for me at least, that I end up having different styles with different entrepreneurs.  My favorite dynamic is where the entrepreneur sees me as an extension of their team; while not likely (or able) to participate in the same capacity as team members, nonetheless welcomed inside the tent either to offer perspectives or sometimes just to know the company, and its challenges and opportunities, better.

Three of my companies have put their products where their mouths are, inviting me to join the realtime group communication tool they use internally.  Automattic and Thing Labs using their own technology (P2 and Picnic, respectively), and The Start Project using Socialtext.  And each of these has been a great opportunity for me to get closer to the daily lives of these startups, which I am sure will make me a more effective board member/investor/advisor.

So, if you are an entrepreneur, and have some sort of internal messaging system for your company, I’d encourage you to consider using these systems to bring your investors and advisors inside your tent.


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  1. May 29, 2010

    Mike, cool to hear how social networking has impacted your dealings with portfolio clients. I’ve found the premise of E2.0 (Enterprise 2.0 which is social networks within a corporate setting) to be a great starting point. The problem is that E2.0 doesn’t yet have the killer app it needs to be truly transcendent. Their is benefit in having a structured outcome associated with the input. It happens mostly in project management apps with social functionality – typical communication and collaboration stuff associated with completing a project.

    OmniStrat is applying that same benefit to a much larger problem in the business world – the incredibly high failure rate around strategy execution. Strategy is a people-centered issue and social networking is the perfect forum to debate, discuss and resolve issues that go to the purpose and aspirations of a business. When you combine that with a structured outcome of direct business success we trust we will have a worthwhile solution for companies.

    You may recall I’m a Dogpatcher – thanks for starting such a worthwhile social program. I look forward to giving back to the entrepreneurial community with a application that will get everyone on the same page, going in the same direction and having great visibility in how the journey is going.

  2. June 7, 2010

    The hottest online game today is absolutely none other than Farmville

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