The VC Uniqueness Test

The founding partner of a newly-minted VC firm was thinking through his firm’s messaging one afternoon and started looking at what other, well known firms had written on their sites.

He cut and pasted several “about us” sections into a blank document, XXX’ed out the telling names and tried to guess which firm each description belonged to.

It’s an interesting exercise: most firms don’t tell you anything useful about themselves.
It’s this opacity that keeps information services such as this one alive and well, of course.

For your enjoyment, I’ve put together a similar quiz for you bellow. Ten firms, ten “about us” sections.

Leave your guesses in the comment section and I’ll email you the answers.

Bonus points for pointing out the misspellings and incorrect grammar.

Don’t spoil it by using Google, either.

1.    XXXXXXX is a private venture capital firm focusing its investments in Information Technology companies. Our current investments include companies based in the United States, Canada, China and India. We work with entrepreneurs and management teams to originate and build new companies into large, profitable businesses.

XXXXXXXX manages nine venture capital partnerships, which together have more than $1.5 billion of committed capital.

Our Limited Partners include established financial institutions, university endowments, and pension funds. They also include prominent individual investors, most of whom are founders, chief executive officers, or board members of major publicly traded technology companies.

The Managing Directors that oversee XXXXXXXX have diverse and complementary backgrounds and skills with extensive management, technical, and venture capital investing experience. We have all served in executive capacities during our careers with successful private and public companies in the software, telecommunications, and internet related industries.

2.    XXXXXXXXX provides “venture capital with impact” by partnering with exceptional individuals to create industry-leading companies. Our investment sectors include communications/wireless, consumer/media, enterprise software and semiconductors. We have over $2.7 billion under management and a team of twelve investing professionals. Since our founding in 1969, we have raised 12 funds, invested in more than 470 high-growth companies, taken more than 100 public, and more than 150 have merged or were acquired.

We offer entrepreneurs a team of partners with operating experience and results-driven venture capital expertise virtually unmatched in the industry.  We’ve learned over the last four decades that unless you constantly adapt – you will die.  That is why our firm has a flexible approach and encourages its portfolio companies to adapt to the latest changes whether its regarding globalization or the newest industry standards.  We’re used to the pace and especially realizing the importance of iteration. In fact, our vision, curiosity, financial strength and commitment helped build Silicon Valley.

3.    We cater to two constituencies: the founders and management of private companies who have selected us as their venture capital partners and the limited partners who have trusted us with their money. We want to do well by both but founders and management come first. We have learned that the only way to develop a fabulous company is one step at a time. This only happens if the company makes wonderful products or delivers a service that thrills large numbers of customers. If that occurs the founders, management and employees of these companies prosper. It is only then that the investor deserves to be rewarded. It has to happen in that order. There are no short-cuts.

4.    XXXXXXXX are passionately committed to helping our portfolio companies succeed. We know that it takes more than solid financial support to get a company off the ground – we help make things happen. We deeply believe that teams win.

Entrepreneurs gain access to our matched portfolio of companies and associations with global business leaders. These relationships are the foundation for strategic alliances, partnership opportunities and the sharing of insights to help build new ventures faster, broader and with less risk.

Think of it as relationship and venture capital.

5.    Founded in 2000 and based in Menlo Park, CA, XXXXXXXX is a leading early-stage venture capital firm that invests in the industry’s next-generation emerging technologies leaders in areas such as communications, wireless, and next-generation Internet solutions.  The founders of XXXXXXXX believe that in today’s tough environment, technology start-ups are looking for investors with “real-world” start-up experience, and in very specific areas such as sales and marketing processes, scaling an organization for revenue, or launching a product line.  That’s why they each have more than 20 years of “in the trenches” operational experience to complement their investment track records.

XXXXXXXX’s general partners were key contributors during the formative, early revenue stages of market leading companies such as YYYYYYY, YYYYYYYY, YYYYYYYY and YYYYYYY, where they were instrumental in leading their respective companies towards achieving major business, sales and marketing milestones.  As a result, XXXXXXX’s general partners provide a very unique perspective in advising entrepreneurs on how to make the “life changing” decisions regarding their start-up businesses.  Recent investment successes by the firm include YYYYYYY (acquired by YYYYYYY), YYYYYY (acquired by YYYYYYY) and YYYYYYY (acquired by YYYYYYY).

XXXXXXX’s partners are experienced, personable executives who have the management depth, industry domain knowledge, and a rich network of contacts to help early-stage companies get the market traction they need to become industry leaders.

XXXXXXXX is backed by some of the venture industry’s most prestigious institutional limited partner investors, who maintain the highest selectivity in their investments in venture capital partnerships.  In addition to its general partners, XXXXXXXX’s network of venture partners can bring invaluable domain and functional expertise to each of our portfolio companies.

XXXXXXXX is an active member of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

6.    XXXXXXX is the preeminent venture capital firm with global presence through a network of partner funds, with offices in more than 33 cities around the world and over $5.5 billion in capital commitments. XXXXXXX’s mission is to identify, serve, and provide capital for extraordinary entrepreneurs anywhere who are determined to change the world. Over the past twenty years, XXXXXX has been proud to back more than 300 companies across many sectors including such industry-changing catalysts as YYYYYY (acquired by YYYY), YYYY, YYYYYY (acquired by YYYYYY), YYYYY, YYYYY (acquired by YYYY), YYYYY, YYYYYYY, YYYYY, YYYYY (acquired by YYYYY), YYYYYY, and YYYYYYY (acquired by YYYY).

7.    XXXXXXXXX is a leader in expansion-stage venture capital investment. With an established presence in the U.S., China and Singapore since 2000, we have a diversified portfolio of companies in the U.S. and Asia. XXXXXXX’s success in expanding global innovation is reflected by the ever-growing list of notable IPOs and M&A successes among our entrepreneurs.

Our deep ties and extensive network in the Asian markets create significant opportunities for our portfolio companies. As part of XXXXXXX’s business development activity for entrepreneurs, we facilitate strategic partnerships and help our U.S. and Asian portfolio companies expand into these new markets. Similarly, our portfolio companies in Asia have benefited from our insights and network in the U.S.

XXXXXXXX targets investments with a strong management team, proven product line or technology, customer traction, a scalable business model, and a clear path to liquidity. The broad experience and skills of our diverse team provide a clear advantage as we roll up our sleeves and collaborate with management to maximize value.

8.    Many venture firms would be best described as a collection of free agents who pursue their own deals and share offices and overhead with their partners.  They are more mercenary than missionary and will tell you to focus more on the individual partners and less on the partnership.  We hope to have the opportunity to show you how we are different.

We are true partners who have built our own firm together, brick by brick; the same way you are building your company. When we commit to supporting your company, each and every partner in our firm commits to contributing his or her network, creativity and resources towards achieving your success. We are big believers in the power of teams.

We believe you will want an investor with whom you can build a close, supportive relationship over a number of years, yet who will be bold enough to challenge your thinking and your expectations.  If Index looks like a good fit, we encourage you to learn about us through the stories and news articles on this website.  We invite you to read about the companies we have invested in, and to speak to the entrerpreneurs we have partnered with.  Their experience is our best reference.

9.    When we created XXXXXXXX, we created a new kind of venture firm – one that’s based on teamwork, superior service to entrepreneurs and an intense dedication to building technology companies of lasting value.

Results Through Teamwork
Unlike other venture firms where partners work independently and even compete for resources, we function as a team. Every full-time general partner is equal in terms of contribution and compensation. And, every partner is invested in each other’s success.

This unique team approach gives our portfolio companies the benefit of having all of our experienced, well-connected partners working for them, not just one. Whether it’s to help recruit executives, facilitate corporate partnerships, or get advice on strategic moves, each company has access to the combined resources of the entire firm.

Our emphasis on teamwork and providing quality service are big reasons why the industry’s top entrepreneurs like YYYYYYY, YYYYYY, YYYYYY, YYYYYY, YYYYYYYY, YYYYYY and YYYYYYY turn to XXXXXXX for help. It’s also why we’ve been able to back more franchise technology companies in the last few years than any other firm in the business.

Our Approach To Investing
Our strategy is to be the first investor in technology-driven companies that seek to create new markets with significant growth potential. We focus on early-stage investing and take a labor-intensive, service-oriented approach in markets where we have direct experience. These include enterprise software and services, communications & security, semiconductors, mobile computing, consumer services and financial services.

And, to ensure that each portfolio company gets the support it needs to succeed, we actively limit the number of companies we invest in. This gives us an unusually high partner-to-company ratio and guarantees that our portfolio companies get the attention they deserve.

Our investments range in size from as little as $100,000 to as much as $10 or $15 million. Typically, we invest $3 to $5 million initially and expect to invest $5 to $15 million over the life of a company. We invest for the long haul, not ‘quick flips,’ and look for entrepreneurs with a similar perspective.

10.    XXXXXX offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of their ideas in both traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile, and silicon technology arenas but also supports breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas such as bio-refineries for energy and bioplastics, solar, battery and other environmentally friendly technologies. YYYYYYY was formerly a General Partner at YYYYYYYY and founder of YYYYYYYYY. YYYYY has been labeled the #1 VC by Forbes and Fortune recently labeled him as one the nation’s most influential ethanol advocates, noting “there are venture capitalists, and there’s YYYYYY.” YYYYYYY founded the firm in 2004 and was joined by partners YYYYYYY and YYYYYYY, as well as chief scientific officer YYYYYY in 2006. XXXXXXXX is based in Menlo Park, California.