Can you change partners within a VC firm?

Q: If you talked to one partner at a VC at an earlier stage of your company, but now feel a different partner is the best fit, what’s the best way to navigate the internal politics? How does this depend on the relative seniority of the partners?

A subtle but important part of potentially “switching partners” before (or after) a VC investment is attribution.

Attribution is who gets credit for the investment.

Most firms say they are a team, and many say they “don’t do attribution”. But the thing is, one, everyone knows who gets credit for the deal. Who’s deal it is. And second, VCs’ own investors, the LPs, do attribution analyses. They want to know which partner is responsible … for the winners.

So it’s all pretty complicated because everyone wants to take credit for the winners, but in reality, only one partner gets core “attribution.”

If you ask to switch, that may make sense. But the new partner may not get full credit for it being her deal. And the one you want to switch from, may be unhappy losing or splitting attribution.

Venture looks like a team sport. But it only sort of is.

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Published on February 2, 2020

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