On what investors look for in a startup:
Micah Rosenbloom: “Can you capture the imagination of the investor? That’s what it comes down to.”
David Pakman, Venrock, focuses on the team’s motivation. They’re all smart. I want to know how many times they will run through a brick wall. Will they be around to build something, or take a buy out and buy an apartment? Who wants people who want to be unicorns? We want people who are in it for something else – entrepreneurs who want to build iconic companies… At Apple, we tested with a small group. If at least 20% of the people didn’t hate it, it didn’t move forward. We were looking for the outliers.”
Micah Rosenbloom: “If one single person is pounding the table, we move forward. There’s so little data about early stage. It’s impossible to find the outliers.”
David Aronoff (MBA, HBS), Flybridge Capital Partners: “People we’ve backed run the gamut. We want to know if they can they motivate investors. Can they build a team and hire people they should not have been able to hire? We asked (Bre Pettis) why everyone will need to have a 3D printer in their home and he answered, ‘because they’re awesome.’ We passed. He was right.
David Pakman: “The only way to find the real outliers is when at least ½ the group says no. And when everyone says it’s impossible to connect every single person on the planet on one social network? No, that’s not possible.
Stuart Ellman: “The X Factor for VC’s is who can figure out who is the next Bre Pettis or Mark Zuckerberg…
Everything you do as an entrepreneur will follow you for the rest of your career… It will follow you for the rest of your life.”
Jared Grusd (MBA, Columbia), Spotify: (On VCs) “The one thing we have, besides capital, is our reputation. The mirror goes both ways.”
Micah Rosenbloom: “There’s a category called ‘alchemy.’ If something looks really interesting, but there’s something missing, we’ll try to help. But you need the holy trinity.”