What is one pitfall, which entrepreneurs must watch out for?
We all tend to select people to work with who may be too much like ourselves. While team members must share vision, passion and core values, in my experience, the best teams (and boards) have diverse functional expertise, as well as differing styles, perspectives and biases. I find it exciting to see visionaries, problem solvers and devil’s advocates challenging each other in a trust-based environment.
What is the most important aspect of the relationship between VC and entrepreneur?
My wife likes to say that trust is the most essential element of a marriage, and I say the same about the relationship between an entrepreneur/CEO and investor/board member. It’s hard to know for sure that you can trust someone unless you have seen them in tough situations where they face strong temptation to act badly but don’t. Those are the people whose relationships I treasure most.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a VC?
Over the years, my definition of success has evolved from developing a strong investment track record to maximizing the success of others, both entrepreneurs and my colleagues at Trinity. When I meet someone, first I try to understand what constitutes victory for them and then identify their unique gifts, biases and blind spots. People say that I have the ability to quickly zero in on the essence of situations. I relish the role of trusted consigliere, helping people focus on leveraging their strengths while mitigating their biases or blind spots.