I wanted to discuss some of the highlights of the debate between entrepreneurs and investors: How much control should a VC firm receive when they invest in an entrepreneur or idea?
The debate is an interesting one. As with anything, there are pros and cons to the amount of control an investor should receive by cutting a check.
- One advantage is that chances are that they are a very intelligent business person and may have great insight into ways to help the business.
- One disadvantage is that they may THINK they know the best way to run a business , but they did not found or create the company so they do not necessarily have the “vision” that the company may have been created with. Just ask Phillip Greenspun and his experience with VC’s at ArsDigita in 2000.
The idea that someone could not have some control over their investment, particularly when they can contribute a unique insight into the investment, seems a bit far-fetched. The reality is that, most entrepreneurs just want the check.
I think the VC/entrepreneur relationship is one similar to that of co-workers. The relationship has to be mutual, but with the understanding that things are not always going to be perfect, no matter how much money you are or aren’t making. — although making money would be better : )
A current topic that is relevant to the VC/entrepreneur discussion is that of Twitter founders and their relationships with investors. First, they have a lot of investors: Insight Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, Venture Hacks, Chris Sacca and several others (I’m not even sure that all of them have been named publicly). Most investors have been hands off, leaving them to really find their vision and path. I think most of this is because their growth has been so fast and exponential. It has been so much to grasp so quickly, and possibly without them even expecting it. It leaves a little about the business and revenue model still to be figured out, although their recent deals with Google and Bing provide a bit of insight.
Ultimately, there will be different strokes for different folks and each relationship will be dictated by the quality of the entrepreneur and the quality of the idea.