Case Studies - Venture Capital General Partners
Some common traits shared by venture capital general partners are stamina, networking, investments, and autonomy. They are also analytical strategists and gamblers/risk-takers. More information and details about their common traits are listed below.
MOST COMMON TRAITS AMONG GENERAL PARTNERS IN A VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM
1. STRONG STAMINA
- One of the most common traits of general partners in a venture capital firm is that they have strong stamina.
- The venture capital industry is a very busy and tiring industry. People working in it are mostly stressed and drained. To be successful, general partners tend to have strong stamina and can stay focused every time they face the startups they meet daily.
- They don't have the usual 8-hour day, they work overtime on a daily basis.
- They have intimidating personalities. Most people who work with them feel intimidated every time they go to work because of their strong personalities.
2. EFFECTIVE NETWORKS
- Another common trait of general partners in venture capital firms is their ability to network for investments and startups.
- A great general partner in the VC industry must know how to correctly build networks and sources for their companies.
- They also have a strong social media presence on sites like LinkedIn.
- They want long-term relationships with their business partners.
- They are outspoken and extremely powerful allies in the VC industry. They are vocal and they will say what they believe is best for all.
- They prefer to have meetings in-person rather than by phone or online. They believe that meeting face-to-face is the best because they can deal and talk openly about the investments.
3. AUTONOMOUS DECISIONS AND RESEARCH
- A general partner also does deep-dive research on their own and do not depend on what excites others or what others think. By doing this, they can decide wisely whether to invests or not.
- VC partners need to know if there is a market for the product of the startup company who asked for their investments. A smart VC thinks long-term when investing and not just on what is over-hyped that usually ends in a short period.
- They are all analytical strategists. They think out of the box and see the potentials of everyone and every business.
- They make fast decisions. They think 24/7 and when they need to make a decision they make it a point to do it fast to always continue the flow in the business. If they don't make quick decisions other investors might beat them and they will be left behind.
- They all stand on what they believe is right.
- They are gamblers and always willing to take risks.
- If they are wrong, they are willing to accept it.
- They are non-emotional when dealing with their businesses. When it comes to business dealings, they don't let their emotions affect their decisions. They will do what is best for the business even if it ruins their relationship with their friends.
4. ABILITY TO INVEST
- Another trait common for general partners of venture capital firms is their capacity to invest and prove their reputation.
- A venture capitalist usually invests up to $5M to get higher profile deals and will prove their worth in the industry.
- Most of the top venture capitalists make small investments to different companies to manage their capital. They usually give investments as low as $250,000 to one startup.
- They are very smart in selecting where to invest, they usually invest in companies related to their expertise, which they think they can manage up to 10 years.
- They are all very rational in dealing with their potential portfolio investments. They focus on what matters the most for the business and focus on how they will continuously grow in the industry.
- They are always involved in their businesses. They don't just invest in a business they also do their best to be involved and to help the business to grow.
- Having numerous deals or investments is a great advantage to be on the top in the VC industry.
5. CURIOUS OPTIMISM
- They have intellectual curiosity. They always want to learn new things, they are continuously searching for ideas and new techniques that can be helpful for their businesses.
- They encourage their staff and others to find their passion, keep on doing their best to reach their goals and be successful. They motivate them to have goals and do their best to reach them.
- They don't want to see anyone— especially the companies where they invested— fail.- They motivate and help their startups succeed.
- They love technology and innovations. They always want to be the first when it comes to trends and they love to innovate.
- They love to invest and win, and are open-minded.
DIFFERENTIATING TRAITS AMONG THE THREE IDENTIFIED GENERAL PARTNERS
- They all tend to have different backgrounds before they became VCs. Shen was—and still is—considered a "mathematics prodigy" while Bill Gurley and Alfred Lin both have backgrounds in computer and technology.
- Shen and Lin are optimistic in everything; but also note that Gurley didn't stop to say something negative about "technology's" struggling issue.