28 Sep How do VC’s help their portfolios scale?
Investment from a VC brings so much more than money. 2 experienced investors tell us everything else they bring to the table.
In June we staged our first Sales Confidence conference at HereEast, in London’s Olympic Park. We called it SaaSGrowth2018. We had over 200 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 30 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our SaaSGrowth2018 articles.
VCs and founders panel
Our first panel discussion of the afternoon session was titled:
‘Investors and founders on raising capital, managing and accelerating SaaS businesses, and what future SaaS opportunities exist in the UK and Europe’
Quite a wide remit there, but I think we managed to cover it!
We were thrilled to welcome 3 expert VCs to the SaaSGrowth stage, Barnaby Terry from Sussex Place Ventures and Steve Collins from Frontline VC. You can read about what they look for in SaaS companies here.
Flavia Richardson from Funding London led our panel and asked the questions.
‘As investors, how do you work with your portfolio of companies to help them scale?
Steve Collins from Frontline VC kicked off the answers. For Steve, the best way he can help the companies he invests in is to be a connector.
‘The biggest value we can provide our portfolio of 40 companies is to connect those companies together. We have a platform. We bring our companies together frequently at CEO summits and CXO events that we organise. We give them a safe network where they can communicate and share. Then we get out of the way.’
‘As a VC fund, we also hope to use the network we’ve created ourselves over the years. I’ve got long-term investors, operators, entrepreneurs. We have a dense network we can weaponise for our companies.’
‘We want to bring down barriers, but at the same time, we know we’re not managing them. We need to stand back.’
Steve is right. Your network is one of the most important things you have in business. Build it, cherish it and use it.
Barnaby, from Sussex Place Ventures, had a slightly different take.
‘I have a real aversion to premature scaling. There’s a hell of a rush to grow and unfortunately, it can be damaging. I’m hot on making sure businesses do things in the right order.’
‘You have to be collaborative in terms of the plan, then let it be. But if you see them start to do things in a crazy order, get involved.’
It’s an interesting take from Barnaby. Sure, VCs are meant to sit back and not manage their portfolios, but if they see something that is clearly wrong in their experienced view, they need to speak out. VCs have to protect their investment too. Barnaby isn’t afraid to get hands-on when he needs to.
Over to you?
How about you? If you’re a VC, what else do you do to help your portfolio of companies scale? If you’re a founder, what have your VCs done to help you? (Besides giving you money of course!)
Let us know down in the comments.