I received the most emails on my posting, born of a conversation with Steve Westly, about who the nicest VC in the business may be. One VC offered that “though I’ve only met him once, for years and it years it was said that Reid Dennis of Institutional Venture Partners was, and likely still is, one of the nicest guys in the business.” A healthcare CEO in the Valley nominated Menlo Ventures’ founding partner DuBose Montgomery as the nicest VC, saying Montgomery would “likely be viewed in a similar light by all.” Meanwhile, a Boston-based VC seconded Westly’s choice of Brook Byers at Kleiner Perkins, saying that Byers not only shared his time and contacts when the VC was an ambitious 24-year-old, hoping to break into the business, but Byers encouraged him to go to business school, then helped him land an internship in venture capital afterward. Someone named Pete also wrote, telling me it was an idiotic question to ask. Thanks, buddy!
The most thoughtful of the emails, however, came from a junior professional at a top private equity fund of funds, who said this: “Given my capacity as a junior pro, I get to see how these guys really treat people. (Some won’t even look me in the eyes during meetings, as I don’t sit on the investment committee, i.e. my signature is not on the LPA.) I’ve met with the whole spectrum, from guys with egos so big you can’t stand to be on an elevator with them, to the ones who you almost pity given their genuine kindness but total inability to raise a fund. There are the funny ones, the ‘eccentric’ ones, the odd ducks, and the flat-out amazing investors. But the irony I saw in your article is that the nicest VC I have ever met is most certainly Steve Westly.”
A number of you want me to write about who the biggest a*****es are next. I’m probably going to go ahead and let TheFunded maneuver through that minefield. But should you want to share your short list with me anyway, I’d be delighted!