Peer Support and Self Management Saturday’s – A Safe Place to Vent, Seek Emotional Support, Share Self Management Techniques and Experiences, or Just Rant

Welcome to this week’s Peer Support and Self Management Thread.

This is a Safe Place to Vent, Seek Emotional Support, Share Self Management Techniques and Experiences, or Just Rant.

The goal for this thread is to help one another manage mental and physical health so we can more easily find success.

We all struggle sometimes and it is important to recognize that the struggle is part of the journey. The important thing is to learn how to overcome that adversity to grow and succeed.

Be tactful and classy in how you vent your feelings and share your frustrations. Act in a mature manner.

Ask questions, share experiences, and be there for one another. Practice empathy in giving advice and remember that what worked for you isn’t guaranteed to work for others. Make suggestions, not demands of others.

#Because this is meant to be a safe place to support emotional and physical health there is a zero tolerance policy in effect. Be KIND. Be sure to report any conduct that is in violation of that key tenet.

You can also find more support using instant chat on the /r/startups discord.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Peterson Ventures, a firm that quietly backed Allbirds and Bonobos, just closed a $65 million fund

Peterson Ventures, a 12-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based seed-stage fund, has long operated fairly quietly, but many of its bets have become known brands in the respective worlds of consumer and enterprise software investing. Among these is the shoe company Allbirds; the men’s clothing company Bonobos (acquired a few years ago by Walmart); and Lucid Software, which closed its newest, $ 52 million round back in April.

Thanks to a newly raised $ 65 million fund — more than double the size of its $ 33 million second fund — Peterson has even more money now to write checks in the range of $ 250,000 to $ 1 million in a wide variety of startups.

We were in touch this week with Peterson partner Ilana Stern, whose own consumer startup, Weddington Way,  raised money from Peterson before selling to the Gap in 2016.  Stern, who joined the outfit last fall and is based in San Francisco, shared a bit more about the firm’s newest fund and where it’s looking to shop. Our exchange has been edited lightly for length.

TC: Peterson is part of a bigger platform called Peterson Partners. How many asset classes is Peterson Partners funding?

IS: Peterson Ventures is part of the Peterson Partners platform with funds that invest in lower middle market private equity and search funds. There are over 30 people firm wide, including a four-person full-time investing team [on the venture side. We’ll be looking to add one to two more members in the next year.

TC: How does the firm think about consumer versus SaaS, and is this different than in past years? For example, First Round Capital used to invest half its capital in consumer-facing startups, and that’s not the case right now, as Josh Kopelman told us a couple of weeks ago.

IS: Our first, $ 25 million fund, was close to a 50/50 split; in the second fund, we shifted to 65%/35%, focusing more heavily on B2B SaaS than consumer. Going forward, we expect to be investing around 60% to 70% SaaS and around 30% to 40% consumer. The bread and butter of the Utah market is SaaS, and we expect to continue to back great SaaS companies in Utah.  That said, there is a growing ecosystem of compelling e-commerce and consumer companies, including in healthcare and financial services where we see a continued ‘consumerization’ of those two sectors.

TC: What are two of the firm’s most recent bets, and what do they say about the way your team operates?

IS: Via and Tava Health are two of our new seed investments. Via connects businesses to their consumers on their favorite messaging and voice platforms. Commerce infrastructure is an area where we’ve been very active over the last five or so years, [including because it’s a] perfect cross section of SaaS companies selling into e-commerce and retail. Tava Health is a telemedicine platform for mental health for employees paid by employers, and healthcare SaaS is an area that we’ve also invested in a lot. In fact, its founder, Dallen Allred, is someone whose earlier company, Artemis Health, is another portfolio company.

TC: Out of curiosity, how did Peterson get involved with Bonobos?

IS: Co-founders Andy Dunn and Brian Spaly were students of our founding partner, Joel Peterson, at Stanford GSB. GSB is a key area of deal flow for us. Joel has been teaching there for almost 30 years. Ben [Capell, a partner with Peterson since 2010] has been involved in backing over 20 companies in the last 8 years led by Stanford GSB alumni, and I’ve been guest lecturing there for seven years.

TC: You don’t invest exclusively in Utah, but you spend much of your time with local startups. How has the Utah scene changed since Peterson swung open its doors?

IS: Peterson dates back to 1995, so we’ve been fixtures in the Utah market for 25 years as a firm. When we started Peterson Ventures in 2008 investing Joel’s personal capital — it’s now a mix of institutions, family offices and high net worth individuals — there were no seed-stage firms. Now there are three institutional seed-stage firms, several Series A firms that will also invest in seed stage startups, and active family offices and angel investors.

Also, where the firm used to have to work hard to convince coastal firms to invest in Utah we now have an abundance of mid- and late-stage investors from both coasts spending significant time and
investing meaningful dollars here.

Startups – TechCrunch

Morgan Beller, co-creator of the Libra digital currency, just joined the venture firm NFX

Morgan Beller, who is a co-creator of the proposed Libra digital currency, along with Facebook vice presidents David Marcus and Kevin Weil, has left the company to become a general partner with the venture firm NFX .

In a call yesterday, she said she first became acquainted with the San Francisco-based outfit five years ago when on a “tech trek” to Israel, she met its local partner, Gigi Levy-Weiss, and formed a friendship with him.

At the time, she was a young partner at Andreessen Horowitz, working on its deal team after graduating from Cornell as a statistics major.

A role working on corporate development and strategy at Medium would follow, then it was on to Facebook in 2017, where Beller began in corporate development and — intrigued by cryptocurrency tech — where she quickly began evangelizing to her bosses the importance of better understanding it.

As she half-jokingly explains it, “Crypto is a mental virus for which there is no cure. I was at a16z when they got infected with the crypto virus.” She eventually caught it herself, and by the time she joined Facebook, she says she “realized no one was thinking about that space full time, so I took it upon myself to [help the company] figure out its point of view.”

Indeed, a CNBC story about Beller last year reports that at one point, she was the sole person on a Facebook blockchain initiative —  meeting with those in the know, attending relevant events, and otherwise researching the technology. Bill Barhydt, the CEO of the digital wallet startup Abra, told the outlet of Beller:  “I give her a lot of credit for taking what seems like a very methodical, long-term approach to figuring this out.”

All that said, Beller notes that as a full-time investor with NFX, she will not be focused exclusively or even mainly on crypto. Her focus instead will be finding and helping to cultivate seed-stage startups that aim to grow so-called network effects businesses.

It’s the broad theme of NFX, a now 25-person outfit cofounded five years ago by serial entrepreneurs who have all seen their companies acquired, including Levy-Weiss (who cofounded the online travel site Lastminute.com, and the social casino game publisher Playtika); Pete Flint (cofounder of the home buyers’ site Trulia); and James Currier (of the social network Tickle).

Certainly, she will keep busy at the firm, she suggests. As part of getting to know the partners and their thinking better, she introduced them to one company that they have since funded.

The pace has generally picked up, Flint tells us, saying that during the second quarter of this year and the third, NFX has twice broken its own investing records both because of “incredible founders who are reacting to this opportunity” and growing awareness about NFX, which last year closed its second fund with $ 275 million.

Last month, for example, NFX led a seed round for Warmly, a nine-month-old, San Francisco-based startup whose product tracks individuals in a customer’s CRM system, then sends out a notification when one of his or her contacts changes jobs. It also led a round recently for Jupiter, a year-old, San Francisco-based grocery delivery startup.

Naturally, Beller’s new partners are full of praise for her. Flint says the firm began looking for a fourth partner two years ago and that it has “spoken with dozens of exceptional people” since then, but it “always came back to Morgan.”

As for why the 27-year-old is ready to leap back into VC, Beller says that her work across Facebook and Medium and a16z “made me realize my favorite parts of projects is that zero-to-one phase and that with investing, it’s zero-to-one all day” with a team she wanted to be part of.

Further, she adds, while at Facebook, she was helping scout out deals for the venture firm Spark Capital, so she’s already well-acquainted with the types of founders to which she gravitates. “They’re are all weird in the right ways, and they’re all maniacally obsessed with winning.”

As for how she launches her career as a general partner in a pandemic, she notes that she loves walking and that she’ll happy cover 20 miles a day if given the opportunity.

“If anyone wants to safely walk with me,” she suggests that she’d love it.  Says Beller, “I’m not worried about San Francisco longer term. I don’t think there’s a replacement for in-person meetings.”

Startups – TechCrunch

An American startup that is 90% similar to mine just emerged this year, due to lack of funding in a third world country, I couldn’t get to market earlier

Some important things you need to know first:

– I had a 4 year head-start

– I launched twice

– I have applied to a lot of accelerators, including Y-combinator which I applied thrice. I have also reached out to potential investors and prominent leaders in my project's industry to no avail

– I'm not claiming they stole my idea, this is not a complaint but an open discussion on what I could do next

– My location is part of the problem partially, just at the wrong place at the wrong time

– I'm uncomfortable revealing the industry I'm working in at the moment so I won't name the startups

I started working on a project 4 years ago and built an MVP for it, my years were spent looking for co-founders, a team, and most importantly, investors. I got non of them, it was either promises that went nowhere or no replies at all. As a single founder, I knew it would be hard to bring someone on board with the situation in our country, the idea excited them but not enough for them to put in the hard work or money.

You must be wondering, maybe it was a terrible idea? My spirit was broken multiple times but I knew it had value. You may also think I should've looked for the first users since I built it already. Well it isn't that easy, the project's particular industry requires a workforce behind it, think of it as Uber if it launched without on-boarding drivers or with no drivers at all.

I don't know how to say this without sounding like a pompous douchebag but I blame my country or people whichever way you put it for one reason, the lack of vision. The people I met almost always said the same thing, "We aren't ready for that", "This is complicated" etc.. I take part in the blame because I believe I didn't explain it well or sell it good enough. I noticed my shortcomings and worked on it. Years of iteration (for 1 user, me) currently gives me hope in beating this competition that doesn't even know I exist. I believe I have gained experience by studying the idea, doing surveys, iterating, and by launching twice, both times giving me promising metrics but not being able to sustain it due to the reasons I stated above, a team.

This year I just found a way to launch without any help, self-funded and community-driven, and then I see it, there it was on Product Hunt, by 2 founders. The feedback was amazing, for me I took them all personally without question, I was actually happy because this is something I really wanted to exist, and here it is, backed by investors and funded with 7 figures. This also validated my idea in a way and I couldn't be more happier for them.

If I had a lawyer, I know they would stop me from doing what I'd do next, but I still went with it. I emailed them to congratulate them and imply that I had something similar and would love to share my findings/research, they actually have a position open for a Lead who they'd love to have to bring in their ideas. I requested for a shot at that position too. It was in Silicon Valley so maybe this COVID situation would let me be considered for remote work too. That's what I told my self, that's what I did.

It's been over 3 weeks now and both founders haven't replied, I have mail tracking so just one of them opened my email.

I didn't disclose my findings or links nor did I tell them to lawyer up, I offered help and a consideration for a position which I believe I could do good in. I explained in the email that I understand there might be legal issues but I'm happy to cooperate.

Some questions you might ask:

– Is the idea behind the product that common?

No, almost everyone in the industry misses it, I don't think it's worthless either, just that the current model is working well and I believe it shouldn't be that way. I'm a strong believer at this as a user, the other startup's vision is also the same, they believe there is a standard to set and they did it.

– Why don't you just launch this last version?

That's why I'm here, I'm afraid am being delusional and just need a few voices of reasoning

– Is there a patent on it

Mine? no. Theirs? I don't think there is, I searched for it on U.S patent databases and I don't think it's could be deemed as intellectual property in the first place, I could be ignorant about this I really haven't sought legal counselling

Please do ask questions, I'd love to answer.

TLDR: My startup failed after 2 launches and another one with resources and workforce that I don't have just launched right before I wanted to launch a third, final time

Edit: The other startup is behind a paywall and only limited to the iPhone, mine is free to the users and has a model similar to reddit gold where the content is free but you could still support it. It is also available across all platforms

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Was Snowflake’s IPO mispriced or just misunderstood?

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s broadly based on the daily column that appears on Extra Crunch, but free, and made for your weekend reading. 

Ready? Let’s talk money, startups and spicy IPO rumors.

Was Snowflake’s IPO mispriced or just misunderstood?

With an ocean of neat stuff to get through below, we’ll be quick today on our thought bubble focused on Snowflake’s IPO. Up front it was a huge success as a fundraising event for the data-focused unicorn.

At issue is the mismatch between the company’s final IPO price of $ 120 and where it opened, which was around $ 245 per share. The usual forces were out on Twitter arguing that billions were left on the table, with commentary on the question of a mispriced IPO even reaching our friends at CNBC.

A good question given the controversy is how the company itself felt about its IPO price given that it was the party that, theoretically, left a few billion on some metaphorical table. As it turns out, the CEO does not give a shit.

Alex Konrad at Forbes — a good chap, follow him on Twitter here — caught up with Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman about the matter. He called the “chatter” that his company left money on the table “nonsense,” adding that he could have priced higher but that he “wanted to bring along the group of investors that [Snowflake] wanted, and [he] didn’t want to push them past the point where they really started to squeal.”

So Slootman found a new, higher price at which to value his company during its debut. He got the investors he wanted. He got Berkshire and Salesforce in on the deal. And the company roared out of the gate. What an awful, terrible, no-good, mess of an IPO.

Adding to the mix, I was chatting with a few SaaS VCs earlier this week, and they largely didn’t buy into the money-left-on-the-table argument, as presuming that a whole block of shares could be sold at the opening trade price is silly. Are IPOs perfect? Hell no. Are bankers out for their own good? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that Snowflake screwed up.

Market Notes

No time to waste at all, let’s get into it:

  • Lots of IPOs this week, and everyone did well. Snowflake was explosive while JFrog was merely amazing. Sumo Logic and Unity had more modest debuts, but good results all the same. Notes from JFrog and Sumo execs in a moment.
  • Disrupt was a big damn deal this week, with tech’s famous and its up and coming leaders showing up to chatter with TechCrunch about what’s going on today, and what’s going on tomorrow. You can catch up on the sessions here, which I recommend. But I wanted to take a moment and thank the TechCrunch sales, partnership, and events teams. They killed it and get 0.1% of the love that they deserve. Thank you.
  • Why is Snowflake special? This tweet by GGV’s Jeff Richards has the story in one chart.
  • What are the hottest categories for SaaS startups in 2020? We got you.
  • There’s a new VC metric in town for startups to follow. Folks will recall the infamous T2D3 model, where startups should triple twice, and then double three times. That five-year plan got most companies to $ 100M in ARR. Now Shasta Ventures’ Issac Roth has a new model for contention, what he’s calling “C170R,” and according to a piece from his firm, he reckons it could be the “new post-COVID SaaS standard.” (We spoke with Roth about API-focused startups the other day.)
  • So what is it? Per his own notes: “If a startup entering COVID season with $ 2-20M in revenue is on track for 170% of their 2019 revenue AND is aligned with the new normal of remote, they will be able to raise new capital on good terms and are set up for future venture success.” He goes to note that there’s less of a need to double or treble this year.
  • Our thought bubble: If this catches on, a lot more SaaS startups would prove eligible for new rounds than we’d thought. And as Shasta is all-in on SaaS, perhaps this metric is a welcome mat of sorts. I wonder what portion of VCs agree with Shasta’s new model?
  • And, closing, our dive into no-code and low-code startups continues.

Various and Sundry

Again, there’s so much to get to that there is no space to waste words. Onward:

  • Chime raised an ocean of capital, which is notable for a few reasons. First, a new $ 14.5B valuation, which is up a zillion percent from their early 2019 round, and up around 3x from its late 2019 round. And it claims real EBITDA profitability. And with the company claiming it will be IPO ready in 12 months I am hype about the company. Because not every company that manages a big fintech valuation is in great shape.
  • I got on the phone with the CEO and CFO of JFrog after their IPO this week to chat about the offering. The pair looked at every IPO that happened during COVID, they said, to try to get their company to a “fair price,” adding that from here out the market will decide what’s the right number. The CEO Shlomi Ben Haim also made a fun allusion to a tweet comparing JFrog’s opening valuation to the price that Microsoft paid for GitHub. I think that this is the tweet.
  • JFrog’s pricing came on the back of it making money, i.e. real GAAP net income in its most recent quarter. According to JFrog’s CFO Jacob Shulman “investors were impressed with the numbers,” and were also impressed by its “efficient market model” that allowed it find “viral adoption inside the enterprise.”
  • That last phrase sounds to us like efficient sales and marketing spend.
  • Moving to Sumo Logic, which also went out this week (S-1 notes here). I caught up with the company’s CTO Christian Beedgen.
  • Beedgen, I just want to say, is a delight to chat with. But more on topic, the company’s IPO went well and I wanted to dig into more of the nitty-gritty of the market that Sumo is seeing. After Beedgen walked me through how he views his company’s TAM ($ 50 billion) and market dynamics (not winner-takes-all), I asked about sales friction amongst enterprise customers that Slack had mentioned in its most recent earnings report. Beedgen said:
  • “I don’t see that as a systemic problem personally. […] I think people in economies are very flexible, and you know the new normal is what it is now. And you know these other guys on the other side [of the phone], these businesses they also need to continue to run their stuff and so they’re gonna continue to figure out how we can help. And they will find us, we will find them. I really don’t see that as a systemic problem.”
  • So, good news for enterprise startups everywhere!
  • Wix launched a non-VC fund that looks a bit like a VC fund. Called Wix Capital, the group will “invest in technology innovators that are focused on the future of the web and that look to accelerate how businesses operate in today’s evolving digital landscape,” per the company.
  • Wix is a big public shop these days, with elements of low and no-code to its core. (The Exchange talked to the company not too long ago.)
  • And, finally my friends, I call this the Peloton Effect, and am going to write about it if I can find the time.

I am chatting with a Unity exec this evening, but too late to make it into this newsletter. Perhaps next week. Hugs until then, and stay safe.

Alex

Startups – TechCrunch

Peer Support and Self Management Saturday’s – A Safe Place to Vent, Seek Emotional Support, Share Self Management Techniques and Experiences, or Just Rant

Welcome to this week’s Peer Support and Self Management Thread.

This is a Safe Place to Vent, Seek Emotional Support, Share Self Management Techniques and Experiences, or Just Rant.

The goal for this thread is to help one another manage mental and physical health so we can more easily find success.

We all struggle sometimes and it is important to recognize that the struggle is part of the journey. The important thing is to learn how to overcome that adversity to grow and succeed.

Be tactful and classy in how you vent your feelings and share your frustrations. Act in a mature manner.

Ask questions, share experiences, and be there for one another. Practice empathy in giving advice and remember that what worked for you isn’t guaranteed to work for others. Make suggestions, not demands of others.

#Because this is meant to be a safe place to support emotional and physical health there is a zero tolerance policy in effect. Be KIND. Be sure to report any conduct that is in violation of that key tenet.

You can also find more support using instant chat on the /r/startups discord.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

I’ve Got an App Idea – I just need someone to build it

I’ve got an App Idea – I just need someone to build it

If I had a dollar for all the calls, emails, Facebook messages that I received from startups and would-be entrepreneurs saying “I’ve got a fantastic idea for an app – I just need someone to build it”, then I would be the millionaire. Usually, the next thing to come out of the mouth of this naïve soul would be “It won’t take much just….” Insert here anything from a program that creates virtual sparkly unicorns that deliver your text messages to an app that takes a photo and 3D prints a mini Nintendo character with your face on it. Not to quash the dreams of the new crop of would-be startup entrepreneurs, but there is a whole lot more involved in building an app or software than first impressions suggest. Also, more often than not, it is significantly more expensive than it first appears.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

So you wish your team was more diverse, but it’s just not that easy.

It's no secret that many startups, perhaps especially in tech, struggle with diversity. You start with your own network, and then you hire people who have the skills you need and fit your culture. Before you know it, you have a team that looks and thinks a lot like you.

You worry about how that comes across to employees, future candidates, and investors, and you want to make your team more diverse, but when you post jobs, you get even more applicants who don't really add to the diversity of you team.

A few tips that might help you find, attract, and keep more diverse candidates:

1) If your applicant pool isn't diverse enough, don't think you're stuck. It may be time to slow down and rethink your hiring strategy. What are you doing to build the right pipeline?

2) Build relationships with the tech community. In DC, we have Women Who Code, Black Code Collective, and other groups that are helping to make the tech scene here more diverse. I don't see enough small businesses and new startups getting involved with these groups, even though they're often looking for things like spaces to host Meetups.

3) Listen to your current employees. To quote Hillary Turnipseed, a local tech exec, to "create an inclusive workforce…it’s necessary to establish an environment and culture where employees are heard and valued. You want to set up a place where feedback from employees can be proactively brought to the leadership team." By listening to all your employees about their issues and needs, you'll also be giving your most marginalized employees a space to speak up and be heard.

4) Involve your employees in the hiring process. Make them a part of your story, brand, and marketing. Put them on interview panels. A diverse interview panel will help attract more diverse talent.

5) Don't accidentally focus on just one level or position within your company. For example, hiring more diverse talent should not mean only hiring more diverse talent for entry level roles.

6) Forgive honest mistakes. To borrow from the article I mentioned earlier, "A huge aspect of creating a good environment for diverse employees is to be aware of the pressures that minorities often feel. For me as a black woman, I sometimes put the weight of the world on my shoulders, just sort of by default. I don’t ask for help because I might be viewed as incapable."

You might notice that these tips have a common theme: you don't have to single anyone out or give anyone special treatment to make your company more diverse. Good practices like listening to your employees' feedback can go a long way.

Any other tips I could add to this list?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Benchmark’s Peter Fenton: “10 to 20 years of innovation just got pulled forward”

Earlier today at TechCrunch Disrupt, venture capitalist Peter Fenton joined us to talk about a variety of issues. Among them, we discussed how he’s putting his stamp on Benchmark now that, 15 years after joining the storied firm, he’s its most senior member.

Fenton said that he’s mostly focused on ensuring that firm doesn’t change. It wants to remain small, with no more than six general partners at a time. It wants to keep investing funds that are half a billion dollars or less because its small team can only work closely with so many founders. He also made a point of noting that Benchmark’s partners still divide their investment profits equally, unlike at other, more hierarchical venture firms, where senior investors reap the biggest financial benefits.

We also talked about diversity because (hint hint) Benchmark — which is currently run by Fenton, Sarah Tavel, Eric Vishria and Chetan Puttagunta — is hiring one to two more general partners. We talked about why Benchmark, a Series A investor in both Uber and WeWork, seemingly took so long to address cultural issues within both companies. And we talked about the opportunities that has Benchmark, and Fenton specifically, most excited right now.

If you’re curious about any of these things, read on or check out our full conversation below.

On whether Benchmark, which historically had all white male partners and now counts Fenton among its only white partner, might hire a Black partner on his watch, given the dearth of Black investors in the industry and, at the same time, the changing demographics of the U.S.:

“That’s a personal issue for me, which is going to be measured in the outcomes, just like we have companies that take on initiatives that matter and then measure them and hold themselves accountable. I won’t feel good about our failure if we don’t continue to tilt towards diversity. It’s not enough that I’m the only white male partner. The industry is so systematically skewed in the wrong direction, and we’ve gotten so good at rationalizing how it ended up here, that I don’t think we can tolerate it anymore.”

Benchmark is looking to reinvent itself through “three interfaces” he continued. “It’s who are we talking with and spending time with in terms of [who we might invest in] — that has to change; who are the people making investment decisions, [meaning] the partnership; and then what’s the composition of the companies we’ve invested in, meaning the executives and the boards.

“Before I’m done with the venture business, I want to be able to point to empirical outcomes . . .”

As for why Benchmark waited for the public to rally against its portfolio companies Uber and WeWork before taking action to address cultural issues (in Uber’s case, in reaction to former engineer Susan Fowler’s famous blog post and, in the case if WeWork, in reaction to its S-1 filing):

“I can’t give you a crisp answer because ultimately, what happens in the public eye isn’t the whole story of what was going on between Benchmark and those CEOs.” It’s  “far more complicated, far more nuanced, far more engaged.”

Said Fenton: “What you start with in any partnership is this idea that we’re all flawed and providing what feels like unconditional support to a founder to nurture them and help them to understand in ways they might be able to from their direct reports where they are going to get in trouble, where they’re going to fall short, and then buttress them.

“I can say, having watched both [Benchmark investors] Bruce [Dunlevie] and Bill [Gurley] in those roles that they give their heart and soul to enable to full potential of those entrepreneurs and in each case, it wasn’t enough.

“I don’t know what to say other than, I don’t envision another individual in that [board] role being able to do a better job because what they gave was everything, and those companies built enormous organizations, great success, delight and joy for customers, and they had, in each of their cases, pathologies in their culture. A number of companies that I’m involved with have pathologies in their culture. Every organization can build them. What motivated both Bill and Bruce was the constituencies that go beyond the CEO, the employees, the customers, and in the case of Uber, the drivers . . .

“You could say Susan Fowler was the reason it all happened; I can assure you that the work that was being done far preceded [the publication of her blog post]. Could we have done more, more quickly? You always look back and say, ‘Yeah.’ I think you learn as an organization. We’re not perfect.”

As for the trends that Fenton is watching most closely right now, he suggested a world of opportunities have opened up in the last six months, and he thinks they’ll only gain momentum from here:

“What I’m most excited about is, we’re not going back to normal. What’s so amazing is this shock to the system is really a big opportunity for entrepreneurs to come and say, ‘What do we need to build to recreate and unlock all these things we lost when we stopped going into workplaces?’

“So I think this opportunity to build the tools for a world that’s ‘post place’ has just opened up and is as exciting as anything I’ve seen in my venture career. You walk around right now and you see these ghosts towns, with gyms, classes you might take [and so forth] and now maybe you go online and do Peloton, or that class you maybe do online. So I think a whole field of opportunities will move into this post-place delivery mechanism that are really exciting. [It] could be 10 to 20 years of innovation that just got pulled forward into today.”

Startups – TechCrunch