Equilibrium and Harmony. These two words should accurately describe the core objectives driving relationships between entrepreneurs and their investors. Sadly, they remain elusive goals for many companies …
About 25 years ago, not long after I started my first venture fund, I had a memorable dinner with the very patrician founder of one of the most successful venture franchises in the world.
Samuel Beckett’s 1949 two act French-language play, En Attendant Godot (Waiting for Godot), defines the Theater of the Absurd. In this existentialist play with no beginning or end, two vagabonds wait endlessly for Godot, who never comes and about whom nothing is or ever will be known.
I remember with regret seeing the decline and fall of a senior partner from a Silicon Valley firm that I co-invested with often between 1997 and 2004. That firm elected to dissolve itself because the partners concluded that they had reached the end of their run—and they had extraordinary performance over the three decades+ that they were active. This was a rare act of introspection by an extraordinary partnership.
Ironically, two investor groups that often suffer at the hands of inexperienced or unscrupulous entrepreneurs are Friends and Family & and Angels.
I have followed this practice for over 20 years and continue to train next generation General Partners today. I have always brought new team members into my firm with the following statement:
“There are no shortcuts in this business. Venture capital is an apprenticeship. I am willing to teach you, and hopefully you will rise to the challenge and learn.”