Follow up to Steve Blank post: VC’s Are Not Your Friends

04Feb11

“Great VCs do everything they can so that Exceptional Entrepreneurs have the tools they need to build Great Companies”.

After reading Steve Blank’s post: VC’s are not your friends:

– Steve Blank is a teacher, writer, and serial entrepreneur. He teaches at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley’s Haas Business School and at Columbia. He is the author of “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” and “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”.

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not understanding the relationship they have with their investors. At times they confuse VC’s with their friends...

It was a good post, but not only the title of the article was mis-leading, the picture chosen to represent the post was just inappropriate. I couldn’t resist but provide some additional insight.

I’m a venture capitalist with iNovia Capital yet, I’m first and foremost an entrepreneur. We identify and back Exceptional Entrepreneurs on the premise that the Founder Entrepreneurs are the ones with the passion and vision to get a Company through the real tough times as well as are the ones that are truly able to adapt the business as it becomes needed and can take advantage of the market opportunities that come up over the life of the Company. The Founders don’t need to be the CEO, but, they are the ones we back!

That being said, if, as an investor, I don’t understand the market that is then being addressed, the players, the opportunities and challenges, my intrinsic value as a VC becomes null. Sometimes this happens after the fact, as the company evolves and adjust it’s business plan. Like most in my industry, I have limited time and limited capital. Thus, such change becomes a reason to back out. Even thought the entrepreneur is awesome.

Identifying the right investors to work with isn’t that different then building a successful management team: you need the right people at the right time in the right position. An Entrepreneur needs the right investors, at the right time providing the right resources.

The message is somewhat confusing in Steve’s post – one could easily fall into extrapolated statements, such as: your Employees aren’t your friends; your Customers aren’t your friends; your Suppliers aren’t your friends; your Partners aren’t your friends; and on… even family aren’t your friends, right?

Though, I must add that the points Steve makes about what needs to be done to make of a Company a successful one and how VC does play a role is what I think is important in the post.



One Response to “Follow up to Steve Blank post: VC’s Are Not Your Friends”

  1. Who in the world has friends good enough to hand you hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars?

    I’d never ask my friends for the kind of help I regularly ask my investors for.


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