The Investor Can’t Execute

When it comes to early stage startups, success is determined by execution.  If the team can get the job done, they continue to ascend the mountain.  If they don’t, they go out of business.

A lot of venture capitalists and investors will say “they are active investors”.  It’s not always clear what they mean by this.  Sometimes their definition of an active investor is just going to a board meeting. Others do a lot more.  It all depends.

No successful investors I know actually get in and operate the company.

This is one of the hardest things about investing in startups for people that were operators.  It’s not their baby.  They have gone from being a player in the game to a person on the sidelines and sometimes that line of demarkation is very hard to deal with.  It’s especially hard when things go south.

What we do at WLV is create opportunities. We make introductions to potential customers.  We can’t sell for them but we can put the company in a situation where they can make a sale.  The problem is that rarely does that one introduction lead to a cascading waterfall of success.  It’s one door, not a thousand.

We also help companies find talent.  Again, we don’t do the hiring and firing.  We just find qualified candidates for certain roles in the company and make an introduction.  The culture, the way the company operates is all on the team.

One common thing that I have found in startups is if they cannot sell and increase top line revenue, the ship will sink eventually.  You cannot use the Monty Python “Black Knight Strategy” to grow.


  • awaldstein

    As it should be.

    Capital is necessary. So is advice.

    But having capital in no way makes you wise.

    • Pointsandfigures

      we agree. I think that sometimes entrepreneurs hear, “I am an active investor” and think that somehow the VC is going to make their company hum. Or, the VC invested in Company X and somehow by osmosis, their company will be as successful as Company X. On the other hand, operators that become VCs often forget their boundary.

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