Venture Capital and Parenting

Matt McCall writes:

One day, I was going through a bipolar moment. One of our companies was about to sell for a nice multiple on invested capital. However, later that day, another company informed us that it had lost two major customers and was in a severe liquidity squeeze. Since your attention always goes to the fire drill of the day, I jumped into crisis mode on company B while much of the euphoria from company A receded. Ironically, later that day, I was talking with a friend about children. He mentioned the quote above. You’ll often find yourself, as a parent, happy that one of your children finally mastered a hard task but find yourself stressed because another is struggling due to health, friends, academics or the like.

I began to think about the children/portfolio analogy and realized that there were a lot of other common lessons. Most of these relate to how you interact or manage the deal. One of the most difficult tendencies to avoid as a venture capital is to jump to deeply into the day to day operations of an entrepreneur’s business. VC’s have to walk the fine line between being helpful and being meddlesome. Many of these lessons also apply to CEO’s and how they manage their lieutenants.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.