Because learning from peers is crucial, G. Ventures’ community sat down with Pauline Paquet, Head of Startup Success @XAnge, and Frédéric Krebs, Operating Partner @Newfund to learn about their best practices on how to best support founders after investing.
Operating vs. General Partner
Only five years ago, investors were the ones responsible for both closing and following-up their participations. The role of Operating Partner emerged as competitiveness intensified among funds. Founders seeking technical insights and support, VCs looking for ways to differentiate, … such a great time-to-market for Operating Partners!
They take over supporting role with startups and sometimes even challenges investors’ convictions along with due diligence.
Complexity behind the position
Operating Partners’ biggest challenge is probably to find the right posture between not being consultants, not falling into being TOO operational, and not “killing” founders’ vision — which they’ve been backed for!
Operating Partners are ideally experts. Such a tough thing within an agnostic fund that brings out a new challenge to them: mixing technicity and agility to fit the portfolio’s changing needs.
Availability, credibility, and humility are their go-to set of skills!
Scale the value
Interestingly, our two hosts stood for two different approaches.
The first consists of providing very tailored support to a few lucky ones, while the second focuses on spreading the value by setting up a real platform model gathering all collective intelligence, tools, and resources in one place. Those two are not completely unrelated tho!
In fact, collective intelligence arises from individual issues faced and surpassed by founders who, then, share learnings with the portfolio. At the end of the day, the strongest assets funds’ must capitalize on are their community and “hub” position.
To sum up!
Money probably used to be enough but entrepreneurs are today looking far beyond that! Indeed, they now also assess the support the fund will bring afterward. Becoming a main competitive advantage, funds must hire high-skilled founder-centric knowledge managers.