Sammy is the Managing Director and Cofounder of Blossom Street Ventures. Email him directly at In a Tech Crunch article written in 2013, Khosla was quoted as saying “95 percent of VCs add zero value. I would bet that 70-80 percent add negative value to a startup in their advising.” I can personally attest to this: if you can just find VC that don’t distract you with bad intros and initiatives, asks good questions, and lets you run the business, you’re lucky.
- You should not have to create a 60 page pitch deck for every board meeting explaining what’s going on. Current financials and key metrics ahead of the meeting should be enough. You shouldn’t have to re-pitch your business every time to VC who are already invested, so be sure and ask potential board members what they expect out of board meetings. When I see a massive deck for the first meeting, I always tell the founder there isn’t a need for it unless they get value out of building the deck. Every minute he/she spent making that deck is a minute that wasn’t being spend on the business.
- Khosla also went on to say most VCs “haven’t done shit” and are not in a position to opine when a Founder is going through difficulties, and he’s right. When you’re going through a tough time, the best board member is going to be the candid one described above who is going to tell you who to fire and what costs to cut. You’ll already know those things, but he/she is going to be affirming them and supporting you through the difficulties.
Maybe the question shouldn’t be “what value are you going to add,” it should be “are you going to distract me from running the business and will you be candid with me when I have a problem?” Hopefully the article gives you a sense of our answer.