The power of being there
There are a lot of books, conversations, articles, you name it about being an investor, sitting on a board, etc. but sometimes it is just about being there. One of the most important things that founders should look for when they go out there and raise the first round of capital is one person who is outside the company but cares about the success almost as much as you do and is the person who can always be there.
I will see more than a handful of investments that I am in succeed in getting a series A this quarter. Some have already been announced and others are happening but not for public consumption. It is exciting to see each of these founders pull out of the box and move into the next stage of their businesses. New investors come in and that brings in a new set of experience to rely on. For me it means that those businesses are starting to grow up. My involvement with them will change but being there won’t change.
As an investor it is important to know what you bring to the table. Everyone has the ability to bring multiple talents from analyzing finances to creating work org charts to a big rolodex to big picture thinking. Yet knowing what you do best and can bring all day long to the party is best suited for everyone at the table.
Maybe it is my maternal compass but one of the things that I like bringing to the game is just being there. I will never write the biggest check but I am great at being the biggest cheerleader, the one to call to get a reality check, to be brutally honest or think strategically.
Being a founder is insanely hard. The path is long, the grind is tough. Nobody really understands how difficult it is until they are in the throws of a start-up. There really is value in making sure you have someone who understands the start-up arena and can just be there. I love that role and my guess is that it has played well in my investments.