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Should a technical cofounder pitch VC?

Stashed in: 106 Miles, #success, Funding, 80/20 Rule, founders

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I recently met with two startup CEOs -- both of whom have advanced technical degrees -- who I was surprised to learn do not pitch with their respective technical leaders. Adam and I have always pitched together, and I find it difficult to imagine either one of us being as fundable alone.

Also, if the cofounder does not pitch, I believe the odds go WAY down that the investors will feel comfortable giving him or her a board seat. This can have a huge effect on the company over time.

But maybe I'm completely going against the tide here. What say you, 106ers?

I see not bringing a co-founder as a signal that the co-founder is not strong.

And I agree that without the co-founder being seen as strong, there's less likelihood s/he will get a board seat.

80 percent of success is showing up.

If they're not there, less chance of success.

That blog post is classic.

@ifindkarma FYI: Typed a reply at PW. Said I had to log in. Hit back button and lost my paragraph. :-(. Sign up for mailing list, no ack.

Inviting you now. :)

Totally agree. I think it looks fishy for that person to not be participating.

Your making too much sense. Better watch out! lol. Seriously though, I think it is important for the team to play as a team. I don't expect the goalie to shoot winning goals and I don't expect the wingman to stop a high right shot to the left corner of the goal. If I do, that makes me a soccer idiot. If I'm assessing a company, I expect to see different skills. But if I'm a student of the game, I'm watching to see the team dynamics. Having the tech lead there is as important as the start fullback or wingman. Part of the game is knowing when to speak, when to shut up, et cetera. You want to see a CEO that is highly articulate and yet can listen. And while that may be nice to see in a tech guy, that guy may demonstrate his tech chops and an ability to know when to play in and when to sit back. Those kinds of things can be coached. They should be coached.

One question though ... if your startup CEO's are real technical ... and the tech leaders (plural) exist ... how many chiefs are we talking about in what size startup? My first concern is we have too many geek focused people and not product and customer development folks. I think it is good for a CEO to be technical (the Navy folks have a saying, "You can't be a Captain unless you've been on a ship") - but if the CEO thinks he's as good as the tech leader ... then I suspect the team has a problem on their hands.

Okay I've pontificated enough. Go Team!

A technical CEO (for example, Zuckerberg) can have technical Lieutenants (for example, Muskovitz and later D'Angelo and Taylor) and everything works great.

So true. I realize we are speaking in generalizations. There are exceptions to my comment for sure! For every scenario I've seen that works, I've seen a hundred scenarios where senior leaders like to overplay their current tech chops (I code at home). Being technically proficient is more than a full time job. When you're the CEO you may have good tech sense, but the guys doing it 60 hours/week had better be rocking the house.

Great topic:) Filippo, I like your comments. I agree that there seems to be a tendency of too many technical/geek-focused folks and not enough product or customer development people in many startups. As great as engineers are in dreaming up and creating awesome software, you really need product managers to understand the market, manage the customer expectations and be the voice of the customer. And business people and techies typically don't talk the same language or see things in the same way. That's where being able to speak both languages and build bridges is important - and a good CEO will be able to do this. Finally, using all the latest and greatest technology doesn't necessarily translate to real value in the marketplace - and creating value is the name of the game, right?

Off the soapbox - Thanks for reading:) I love 106!

Joyce, you and Adam make a dynamite team. Don't change it, revel in it! Congrats, by the way - happy for you guys:)

By dynamite do you mean we're explosive? I always did like nitroglycerin in small amounts.

Does nitroglycerin in small amounts qualify as "controlled brilliance"?

Here's some urls that are way off-topic, but may be of interest:

And definitely check this one out: - This one is of particular interest to me since my dad passed away from prostate cancer. Sure wish we had been able to take advantage of what is being studied or in clinical trials today.

"controlled brilliance" - is that like "measured exuberance"? :-)

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