I met recently with a venture capital veteran who has been in the business over twenty years. I will call him "Anonymous Veteran" since he doesn't work for my firm and I doubt he wants his name associated with this blog.
He made the unsurprising comment that he has made most of his money on a small handful of entrepreneurs. That most venture profits have historically come from a small percentage of investments has been well documented.
But, Anonymous Veteran's next comment was more interesting. He has preached and believed in his unique value add for decades. He tells these great entrepreneurs they should take his money over the other guy's because he can help more. Yet, Anonymous Veteran with the benefit of history now believes that the best entrepreneurs don't need much if any help from venture Board members. He says the best entrepreneurs know how to bob & weave and figure out how to correct course to win. Very interesting comment.
In the days after meeting Anonymous Veteran, I called two of the most talented/successful entrepreneurs I know and asked them their thoughts on his theory. Both have raised money from high quality venture investors... and both said "Exactly!" Now, this isn't entirely surprising, but it is noteworthy.
Note: I am note sure I subscribe to the Anonymous Veteran's theory whole hog. I have seen lots of good entrepreneurs receive and appreciate lots of value add from venture investors, sometimes even from my firm. But... it is worth thinking about, because many great entrepreneurs need less help than the average entrepreneur. How much help did Michael Dell need? Did Bill Gates need?