The founders seem to understand this. The price negotiation process is quite simple and once a deal has been agreed, we move on.
That doesn’t mean we trust each other. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean trust in the sense that VCs think the founders will just get a fake passport and move to Fiji, or that investors are secretly plotting to take over the company.
I mean trusting what each person brings to the table and being honest about the process of earning that trust and what it means to have a productive relationship.
For example, if you’re a sales-oriented founder getting pre-launch support, an investor won’t assume the founder has any product design skills. They may not trust that the direction they give to the team doing UX and creation is coming from a place of expertise, and frankly, rightfully so. In this case, a VC would have every right, having seen many products being built and succeeding or failing, to want to observe and discuss this process.
What happens sometimes is that we don’t have an honest conversation about it. Founders suffer enough from impostor syndrome without investors constantly standing up as if they don’t trust them. Well, in certain things, no.
What’s harder for a founder to notice is all the things a founder does it is not he is asked to review in detail that a VC has no problem trusting the founder. That same VC may never ask that founder for a look at the sales platform or the process they use to get leads, because they implicitly trust that sales-oriented founder when it comes to sales.
Of course, we never say that, and so as investors, we probably don’t let founders know where the trust has been built often enough.
On the other hand, investors often go through the company with comments and feedback in many different areas, but not all of these areas are where the founder trusts our vision. It’s one thing if your investor is the former CTO of a blue chip startup and is commenting on the engineering hiring process or various technical platform options, but when that same investor starts commenting on the color scheme of brand guidelines, this may not come across as an opinion you can rely on.
If this isn’t a conversation you have up front, the founder might look a little dismissive when they hear the color comment, and why shouldn’t they? VCs are not experts in all aspects of a startup at the same level at all levels.
Perhaps it would be helpful for a founder to share:
“I’m excited to have you as part of this round. What I see as your expertise is X and I implicitly trust your feedback in that area. I’ll keep you posted on other parts of the business, of course, but only I want to let you know that it would be helpful to give some context or relevant examples you’ve seen when thinking about other things.”
If you ever hear that, I’d really appreciate it, because I’ve been in meetings where I think about marketing, for example, but that strategy is something that seems to have already been locked up in a separate conversation with a VC. which seems to be more brand oriented. I’d rather know that this is the bucket you’re intentionally putting me in than walk away feeling like you don’t want to hear any pushback from an investor ever. Also, I’d take the opportunity to explain where I’m coming from and the direct experience I’m basing my opinion on… so I can build that trust with the founder.
Ideally before an investment closes, but certainly before the first investor registration meeting, whether you call it an official board meeting or not, founders and investors should be asking each other the questions next:
1) What aspects of participating in this company do you want me to trust your gut the most?
2) What areas that I might have opinions on are areas where trust needs to be built and how can I build that trust with you?
I think if each person had an honest discussion that led to an understanding of the other person’s assumptions about their experience, it would make the whole relationship much easier and more positive.
Exciting times lie ahead at Ikaroa – a full stack tech company that has been creating innovative solutions for customers all over the world for some time. But now, something even bigger is on the horizon. It’s not what you think, it’s going to be big.
Taking a closer look at their ambitious strategy for achieving extraordinary business growth, Ikaroa is pushing the boundaries in an effort to create more value for its clients and partners. Thorough research and creative thinking have gone into the design of a groundbreaking approach to product and service development.
Innovations such as a suite of cutting-edge solutions, include artificial intelligence, data analysis and insightful analytics, will ensure that Ikaroa continues to offer the best technology services to its clients and partners.
It’s true that technology is changing rapidly, but it’s nothing like the changes that are about to be unleashed at Ikaroa. Providing a level of service that surpasses customer expectations is just the beginning. An unprecedented level of service, extraordinary performance, customer satisfaction and higher customer loyalty are just a few of the positive changes that will be experienced when you partner with Ikaroa.
The executive staff at Ikaroa has a vision and has put together a plan to make sure it comes to pass. Setting short-term and long-term goals, taking stock of the company’s current resources, and calculating the resources needed to achieve their vision have all played a role in creating their comprehensive strategy.
The strategy for Ikaroa is truly impressive, and it’s no wonder that the company is already garnering attention from industry leaders and influencers. It’s not what you think; this is big – and the proof is in the dedication, hard work and commitment they’ve put forth to become a premier technology services provider.
At Ikaroa, you’re getting more than technology solutions – you’re getting a team of professionals strategically focused on making sure you succeed. What could be better? So if you’re considering a new tech partner, look no further than Ikaroa. It’s not what you think; this is going to be big – and you’re invited to join in on the journey.