Raising Your First VC Round? 5 Tips to Managing Your VCs Afterwards

A few thoughts if you haven’t raised venture capital before:

1. Remember you have to prove yourself, still.  (Fair or not). Yes, you got the $$$, and they really can’t get it back, and probably they can’t fire you if they don’t control the board. But remember your VCs barely know you, and they just wrote a big check (for them) most likely. You still have to prove yourself as (x) a great visionary, (y) someone able to recruit and retain a great team, and (z) a careful custodian of the investors’ funds. It will probably take you 6 months or so to truly prove yourself, longer if there are bumps along the way.  So continue to build trust.  (They have to as well, of course.)

2. Remember the Board meetings are as much or more about your team as they are about you. If your Board just wanted to hear your thoughts, they could just meet with you 1-on-1. Make sure each VP/functional head presents at the board meeting, give them time, and don’t talk over them. And help them prep. Your VCs will learn a lot about the company, and about you as a leader, listening to them, not you.  And also, have board meetings.  Don’t skip them.  And even if you don’t have a board, do them instead as “investor meetings”.  They build trust, create accountability for your team, and deepen relationships.

3. Be extremely transparent and data-driven. And get them detailed Board packs and metrics at least 3 days before each Board meeting. Initially, your VCs won’t really know how transparent you are — or if you are hiding things. Share everything. At least, share all metrics and data. And provide very clear zero-cash data projections (see Knowing — and Sharing — Your Zero Cash Date).

4. But don’t share all your fears.  Maybe 80% is enough. Highlight risks for your VCs, but even with them, don’t let them see you sweat. If they see you sweat, they’ll get scared/nervous too, and it will spiral downward.

5. Take all the VCs’ feedback, but be careful what you implement. Listen respectfully, and don’t openly disagree. But if you don’t think their advice is worth acting on, let them know later 1-on-1 why. Don’t blindly implement a VC suggestion that takes a lot of work that you don’t believe in.

Published on April 8, 2021

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