Managing investors - Ranjith Kumaran

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Your investors backed you because you knew how to run a company. But now that you have backers, you spend all your time managing them—and none of it managing the business. How should you manage your …

Your investors backed you because you knew how to run a company. But now that you have backers, you spend all your time managing them—and none of it managing the business. How should you manage your board and your VCs? When should you give in to their well-intentioned suggestions, and when should you shut them down? How much oversight is appropriate, and how much is meddling? In this session, entrepreneurs who've been there share their tips for managing your investors.

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  • 1. Board Members
    What you need to know
    @ranjithkumaran
  • 2. Ranjith who?
    Founded July 2004, still on board
    Raised $50MM in venture capital
    175 employees
    18MM users, 400K paid
    2009 revenues: $15MM
    Founded January 2011
    Raised $850K in seed
    4 employees
    50K users, 0 paid
    2011 revenues... nah!
  • 3. Board 1.0: Your board picks you
    Started YouSendIt in 2004 (incorporated)
    Knew my cofounders
    Knew 0 angel investors
    Knew 0 venture funds
    (Knew basically nothing)
    Number of term sheets in seed = 1
    Number of term sheets in Series A = 1
    I WOULD MAKE MORE PRETTY SLIDES BUT I’M RUNNING AN EARLY STAGE STARTUP…
  • 4. Board 1.0: You learn about boards
    Types of board members
    Young guy
    Strategy guy
    Operational guy
    Deal / network guy
    Finance guy
    Nobody tells you about board management…
    I WOULD MAKE MORE PRETTY SLIDES BUT I’M RUNNING AN EARLY STAGE STARTUP…
  • 5. Board 1.0: The independent
    Types of independents:
    Industry veteran
    Ultra-branded startup founder
    Scrappy startup founder
    Celebrity?
    Independent should be voice of reason
    I WOULD MAKE MORE PRETTY SLIDES BUT I’M RUNNING AN EARLY STAGE STARTUP…
  • 6. Board 1.0: You learn about yourself
    Eg. I am a product guy
    More fashionable to have product guy at the top now
    Eg. I like viral distribution
    Not everybody gets this stuff
    Eg. I like freemium
    Not everybody gets this stuff
    Eg. I am interested in company culture
    UI, DNA, API
    I have many blind spots
    But the truth is the founder must first solve problems himself / herself
    I WOULD MAKE MORE PRETTY SLIDES BUT I’M RUNNING AN EARLY STAGE STARTUP…
  • 7. Board 2.0: You pick your board
    Started PunchTab in 2011
    Knew my cofounder for 5 years
    Knew my angels for 7 years
    Knew which VCs I wanted to work with
    (Still knew basically nothing)
    Number of term sheets in seed = 0 (handshake)
    Number of term sheets in Series A = ???
    I WOULD MAKE MORE PRETTY SLIDES BUT I’M RUNNING AN EARLY STAGE STARTUP…
  • 8. Board 2.0: No surprises = minimal management
    Board invested in team
    Business model = figure it out (product folk)
    Post-money = business as usual
    Truly helpful via
    Deep, relevant network
    Recruiting heat
    Independent is walking in your shoes
    I WOULD MAKE MORE PRETTY SLIDES BUT I’M RUNNING AN EARLY STAGE STARTUP…
  • 9. Questions?
    ranjith@punchtab.com