Sep 29 2005

Attributes of a good venture capitalist

When I was interviewing for my job at Mobius I asked Dave Jilk interview not only with MDs and other associates, but also with portfolio – who had briefly been an associate at Mobius and was then (as he is now) running a portfolio company – what he thought the most important attributes of successful VCs were (as an aside, I don’t know that I appreciated at the time what a good sign it was that the VC I was interviewing to joined had me company CEO’s to get their take). Without hesitation he said that in a nutshell good VCs need to have attention deficit disorder. I laughed about it then, but I think its time that I acknowledged to Dave (and the world) that he was right. There are lots of attributes that are required to be good at this job, but the core of being a good VC is the ability to move from one thing to the next, often completely disconnected thing, quickly and without slowing down Rare is the time when I sit down and spend a few hours doing something (anything) without interruption.; so much so that I generally interrupt myself these days if I’m spending too much time on any one thing, but mostly because in any give day things just seem to come up constantly. With something like 8 companies that I actively work with these interruptions are all over the map – I may be helping one company sell its business, another raise capital, another plan for a strategic offsite and another with an executive search. Keeping all of this straight in my head is a bit of a task, as is shifting gears from talking about the tax considerations of a particularly merger structure with one company to looking at moving into a new vertical market for another. Its different than the jumping around I did in banking (where I would typically be working on only one or two projects very intensely at any given time) or when I was working for an operating business when my days were much less varied (and much more similar to every other day).

I love it, of course. And thanks to Dave I was at least forewarned about it. Now you are too . . .