John H turned me on to a post from Investments and More titled VC’s – Top Brass Solid, Others Not (“wow – someone taking the glam out of the VC world,” he writes). I actually found his post pretty amusing. While I think a lot of people at venture firms are fantastic (law of natural selection, I guess) there are, of course, some that are better than others. What Steve’s post did bring to mind was how important it is to recognize that when you take on an investor you’re taking on an individual more than you are taking on a firm. Some firms have more cache than others, but at the end of the day as an entrepreneur you work with a person, not a fund. Sure, individual partners get to call on the expertise (and rolodexes) of the other partners in their fund, but firms don’t attend board meetings or strategy sessions, give feedback or pick up the phone to talk with you – an person does.
VC’s talk a lot about the importance of investing in great management teams. Investing from this side of the table is as much about the individuals you bank on as the company. Seems like the opposite should be true as well.