How is an investment decision made at a VC fund? Do all partners vote?

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JASON LEMKIN

In most funds with > 2 partners, it’s turns out the partners don’t really vote.  Not really.

Most funds with >= 3 partners have traditional Monday partner meetings.  Companies come in and pitch.  Deals are socialized and discussed, and criticized.  And everyone provides feedback.

Sometimes the feedback is merely qualitative.

Oftentimes, it’s pseudo-quantitative.  Many VC firms have a 4-3-2-1 grading structure, or some similar variant thereof … a 4 is “let’s do it, period, 100% all-in” … 3 is “like it, but not 100% sure” … 2 is “meh” and 1 is “terrible idea.”

Turns out most investments get just one 4 (often just the sponsor), and all the rest 2’s.

And they still get funded, these deals with just one true thumbs up.  Because …

Really, in most firms, any partner with “juice” can fund anything they want.

So yes, there’s a vote.

But the answer, like a classic Eastern Bloc election, is usually pre-ordained.

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Published on October 20, 2015
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