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Product Management - A key component for VC backed businesses?
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Product Management - A key component for VC backed businesses?

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Mitch Pender of Antrak Capital discusses the importance of Product Management in VC backed startups.

Mitch Pender of Antrak Capital discusses the importance of Product Management in VC backed startups.

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  • VC’s often say investment decisions are made on Team, Market and Product – in varying orderBut an earlier stages, I think it is more about Team and Market. A great team, and a fantastic opportunity – with the right management a great product can emerge.
  • But an earlier stages, I think it is more about Team and Market. A great team, and a fantastic opportunity – with the right management a great product can emerge. Product is really about vision – ideas – concepts. It may grow to being a solution – but lacks the scalable repeatability of a product
  • Usually, when we get involved with a business, it looks something like this. A CEO who runs the company (and often the product), a fairly developed tech team, some operations capacity and sales and marketing developingGenerally speaking, there is very little product management, and almost certainly not a seasoned product manager.
  • But at this stage, the we feel the hierarchy should be more collaborative. The CEO who had the vision for the company, and the product, should lead, but in a less top down mannerAt the center – the product or the solution that will become the product
  • But left unmanaged – will it be the strongest voice who leads product direction? Will sales just bully tech with a feature list for next deal that will close or will tech build the never ending feature set that the market doesn’t want?
  • Our active approach means we want to be engaged and help our portfolio business grow.In our active phase of 9-12 months, we look to develop the less established areas of the company. That may be sales and commercialization, possibly finance, or pehaps leadership. But it always involves product – and more importantly the proper establishment of PM
  • When won’t stop being actively involved in a portfolio business until there is PM who owns the product and function PM process in place.

Product Management - A key component for VC backed businesses? Product Management - A key component for VC backed businesses? Presentation Transcript

  • Product Management
    A key component for VC backed business?
  • About Me
    VC with Antrak Capital
    General Manager and Commercial Manager with 15 years industry experience
    Oh yeah – I’ve never been a Product ManagerBut I have worked with some great ones!
  • About Antrak Capital
  • An Active Investor
    Period of active engagement to shape:
    • Commercial strategy / sales
    • Leadership development
    • Performance culture
    • International expansion (USA)
    • Product management
    Due Diligence Phase
    Board
    Initial Investment
    2 Years
    Follow on
    Capital?
    1 Year
  • Characteristics of investments
    Strong core team
    CEO 1st, then the rest of the team
    Large addressable market
    Initial commercial traction
    A few customers & some revenue
    Momentum
  • “we invest in”
  • Development Stages
    We typically look to invest here
  • However, pre‘growth’ stage
  • With the organization looking like
    CEO
    Tech
    Ops
    MKTG
    Sales
  • But we think it should look this
  • However, unmanaged
  • An active, supportive investor
  • It starts as a function
  • And ends as a role
  • Our final view
    PM is key to us a VC
    It’s one of the 5 tenets of our approach
    Earlier stage businesses often don’t have PM
    This doesn’t discourage us, but we want (part) of the focus of our capital and time to develop it
    We won’t step out of active role until there is functional PM and a Product Manager
  • Is Product Management
    A key component for VC backed business?