Fred Wilson (USV) must not be at SXSW because he’s got a great post up titled The Board Of Directors – Selecting, Electing & Evolving. While having a great post up and being at SXSW don’t have to be mutually exclusive, all of the other VC Posts that I saw this morning said something like “here’s where I’m going to be at SXSW – come find me.” Or they are tweeting “I’m still awake and I’m at an epic party.” Or they are asleep and hung over. But they are definitely not writing posts about boards of directors.
Fred talks about why a company should have a board, how the board evolved over time, and what the high level function of the board is. Having been on some boards with Fred, I hope he goes deeper in a series about boards on what boards should and should not do, especially in cases where the company is doing well, or not doing well.
As a bonus, he snuck in a tidbit near the end about the dynamics of the Twitter board. I wonder if anyone will notice.
Fred Wilson (USV) has today’s VC Post of the day titled Herky Jerky Investing. In it he refers to a WSJ article where several very prominent VCs have recently said they are backing off investing at frothy valuations and now going and looking off the beaten path.
Fred – as usual – has very a very focused reaction to this:
“I am not a fan of this start and stop style of investing. Nobody can time markets. You can’t deliver great returns to your investors by being a momentum investor during some periods and a value investor in others.
I believe the only way to be a top performing investor in any asset class is to have a disciplined investment strategy and approach and apply it consistently and actively in all markets all the time.”
I (Brad) strongly agree and weighed in with my own comment with a cynical view:
“I had the same reaction to the WSJ article. Actually, I had a stronger reaction: “what a load of bullshit – why does the WSJ publish stuff like this and why do VCs say things like this?”
The only thing I could come up with is that it’s actually a head fake from the people saying it with the goal of getting some of their fast followers – VCs who are investing with them, competing with them on “hot deals”, and driving prices up to “slow down and blink” so there’s less competition.”
The comment thread on Fred’s post is very interesting – I encourage you to go take a look and form your own opinion.
Today’s VC Post of the Day is from Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures) titled VP Engineering Vs CTO. This is a topic near and dear to our hearts, especially since I (Brad) have been a CTO but never been a VP Engineering (nor would I ever want to be one – I’d suck at that.)
I’ve written about this on Feld Thoughts before in a post titled CTO vs. VP Engineering (I wonder how Google is going to deal with that SEO – eh, not really, Fred has more Google juice than me) and our friend Todd Vernon (Raindance co-founder / CTO; Lijit founder / CEO) has also written several really good posts about this titled CTO vs. VP Engineering (another take) and CTO vs VP Engineering (reprise). It’s worth noting that people who write about the difference between CTO’s and VP Engineering’s don’t seem to be very creative in the Title category.
I just noticed a late breaking post from Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon, referenced in the comments on Fred’s blog. It’s titled The Different CTO Roles and is a nice addition to the mix.
It’s Monday and our friendly neighborhood VCs stored up their posts over the weekend and launched a few with a vengeance. Today, we have three great ones.
Roger Ehrenberg (IA) writes about mentors in his post Mentors: an essential engine for growth. While he wrote it on Saturday, it’s still applicable on Monday.
Fred Wilson (USV) has his normal MBA Mondays series with a guest post from Andy Sack titled Revenue Based Financing. It’s an advertorial for Andy’s firm Lighter Capital but is a really good explanation of how revenue based financing works.
Charlie O’Donnell (First Round Capital) wraps up our posts of the day with a dynamite one titled 10 Misperceptions About Venture Capital.
It’s Monday and that means – yup – that Fred Wilson (USV) once again claims the VC Post of the Day due to his excellent MBA Mondays series titled Pricing A Follow-On Venture Investment. In it, Fred walks through an example, with real numbers, of how USV thinks about valuing an inside-led round for a company that is doing well.
Historically, many VC firms wouldn’t lead internal rounds at increased valuations except in extraordinary cases. When we started Foundry Group in 2007, we decided that was nonsense. It never made any sense to us why a firm wouldn’t pay a higher price than the last round for a company that it was already an investor in, especially if the companies in the portfolio were relatively capital efficient.
In our case, as in Fred’s, we try to offer a fair price, but expect to get some level of discount since we enable the company to bypass the fundraising process which is often incredibly distracting, time consuming, and often not much fun. Fred does a really nice job of explaining – both qualitatively and quantitatively, how he thinks about this. While our math is somewhat different, it’s super useful to get inside the head of an actual VC as he thinks this through.