I need somebody who can raise funds, come up with a new “unique defensible investment strategy” every three years. Strong enough to convince institutional LPs to part with a billion (or two) with no due-diligence. Yet gentle enough not to squish dreams of MBA students. Somebody who perpetually resides in the top-quartile. Someone who negotiates carry yet never sees a return, fights for attribution, tames cantankerous LP side-letter requests…. Someone who could find a way to survive with just 2% fee-income, be able to feed the family some bread (flown in from France). So, God made a VC!
God said I need somebody to sit and patiently listen to thousands of pitches, even get up before dawn and have conference calls and sit in board meetings all day, make sure those portfolio CEOs are doing fine, eat sushi while driving a Prius. And then go to a demo-day and stay past midnight listening to more pitches, empathizing with entrepreneurs about how hard it is to start a company. So, God made a VC!
God said “I need somebody that can shave their head and hide their grey hair away, wear funny shoes and fit in with an age demographic of their grand-kids. Someone who will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon. Negotiate a $20 million pre-money with a 19-year-old founder CEO. Then, take one more meeting, emerge from a smoke-filled room and put in another seventy-two hours at the worlds largest office hours. So, God made a VC!
God had to have somebody willing to tweet, blog and yet take care of the portfolio CEOs, run at double speed to prevent cash challenges, ahead of the economic downturns and yet stop on mid-field and race to raise another fund when he sees the first smoke from an exit with a positive IRR. So, God made a VC!
It had to be somebody who’d know-it-all-social, mobile, cleantech and greentech or the “internet of things”. Somebody to see beyond the waves, to observe and predict, pretend and challenge…and pontificate and spray and pray. Somebody to do “portfolio value-add” with a straight face, replenish the mojo of a depressed CEO who did not get featured in TechCrunch….and then finish a hard days work with a five mile drive to the home-by-the-sea. Somebody who’d bale a portfolio together with the soft strong bonds of liquidation preferences, who’d laugh and then sigh… and then respond with a soft-whisper “NFW”, when his portfolio CEO says he wants to spend his life “doing what a VC does”. So, God made a VC!
About the author: Mahendra Ramsinghani, a pretend-VC has reinvented himself as a pretend-farmer. He is the author of “The Business of Venture Capital“, and co-author (with Brad Feld) of “Startup Boards“.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com