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.