My VC Code 2.0

Nearly a year ago, I wrote my original VC Code post, in which I outlined how I approach my role as an investor. Given that I recently started a new role at a slightly later stage fund (Series A — C, primarily) and that I have another ~year of investing under my belt, I figured it was time for an update to my original post. What follows is a slightly amended version of my original piece that takes into account investing at a later stage and what I will do in this new role.

Being a VC and getting to work with entrepreneurs on a daily basis is the ultimate privilege. So, the purpose of this piece is to 1) enable founders with whom I meet to know what to expect from me prior to meeting, thereby allowing them to ask more specific (e.g. helpful) questions when we chat and start to build a sense of trust and 2) enable founders and other investors to hold me to this list and call me out if I’m slipping — I’m always seeking to improve.

Before investing…

  • Bring the same hustle and scrappy resourcefulness to sourcing companies and meeting with founders that I did at the seed stage to these later stages of investing
  • Meet with founders as early as possible in their companies’ life cycles; get to know a founder and her business and build a relationship and add value well in advance of the stage when our fund would invest
  • Reply to / acknowledge / engage with every single inbound email — have a first meeting or call when appropriate. In my previous role, we invested in one company that came to me via a personalized cold email
  • Be as transparent and communicative as possible during the pre-investment process
  • Immerse myself in a company’s app / product / service as much as possible; always meet at their office when doable, particularly early in the fundraising process
  • Reply to every email relating to a process with a founder — never leave any loose ends
  • Do my absolute best to facilitate a seamless evaluation and diligence process (i.e. a quick pass if that ends up being the result)
  • When passing on an investment, provide a clear reason why, suggest the founder continues to provide updates if she’d like, and offer to help in other ways, if possible. Given that we’re investing across multiple stages, there’s a chance it may be a better fit later on
  • Offer to make intros to other investors when appropriate, particularly if the company is too early for us
  • Always make intros to potential partners, customers, and other “strategics” when I have relevant relationships that could be helpful for a company
  • I’m most appreciative of intros to startups that come from founders I previously passed on

After investing…

  • Be “on call” for founders — no problem is too big or too small to justify pinging me via text, email, DM, phone call, snap, etc.
  • Be proactive about continuing to make the relevant intros outlined above
  • Continue to be transparent and communicative; my best relationships with founders have these traits going both ways
  • Send an email during the first week of every month asking founders of companies I’ve sourced for us (i.e. ones I work most closely with) what I can do to be immediately helpful; I encourage founders to give me “homework”
  • Outside of one-offs, allocate an entire day every week to nothing but portfolio-related work: standing calls / meetings with portfolio founders, ad hoc calls / meetings with portfolio founders, calls / meetings with relevant partners for portfolio companies, calls / meetings with other VCs who may be a good fit to invest in our portfolio companies

I would love to hear any feedback on this code, and for anyone who’s ever worked with me, please let me know if this rings true and if there’s anything I’m missing.