There are times where I wish I could bring the CEO of one startup to another startup’s board meeting.
It would be interesting to get their reaction and input to shared pain when it comes to hiring challenges, scaling challenges, lost deals, product delays or revenue misses. Also, they could see the joy when a team is crushing it and a company healthy and in a groove. And they would know that they aren’t the alone.
Because this idea of cross fertilization isn’t possible at scale, VCs and independent board members play this role. Our firm has made 50 investments since we started Spark in 2005 and we’ve seen the great and the not so great. Other board members I work with have made more investments. Other more junior directors can bring a fresh perspective which is also great. All of it helps if everyone is working together.
The best directors use their experience to get founders the time and help to figure it out. But VCs are human. Sometimes, after seeing similar mistakes across portfolio companies, “pattern recognition” kicks in and hasty judgements can be made. Those are extremely regretful.
In a few weeks, we are gathering all of our founders and CEOs together in New York City for a Founder Summit. We’ll have a few guest speakers from some amazing people. But most importantly, I’m hoping it’s a place where founders help founders and my partners and I can watch, listen and learn.