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TechCrunch hearts Benchmark and NextDoor


Stashed in: NextDoor

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How is this considered newsworthy?

As Cohler sees it, Benchmark is a small fund relative to the firm’s peers and colleagues. He maintains that that other models may work for other VCs and operators, but “we see ourselves as craftspeople and artisans. Benchmark as a firm reflects our individual values, mission and strategy.” It’s this strong belief in the Benchmark model that ties the partnership together, he adds.

Nirav Tolia, a former Benchmark EIR and the founder of Benchmark-backed Epinions, Fanbase and most recently, private social network for neighborhoods Nextdoor, says that its the firm’s singular focus on early stage investing that makes Benchmark so unique. “They are not generalists in how they invest–they know and get early stage startups and how to tackle problems like finding product market fit, scaling, finding a business model, and hiring people when you are a startup with no perks,” he says.

Benchmark is extremely selective about its investments because the partners are so hands on with the entrepreneurs they back. It’s just not scalable to be so hands-on with startups at that stage. “We want to be the first phone call, the first text message, the first email for any founder,” says Cohler. That sort of engagement is difficult to do at a larger scale, he says, with a large number of investments across stages. Tolia’s experience with the firm is that it feels like less of an outside investor and more like a member of the team. He says Gurley, who is on the board of Nextdoor, has spent as many late nights working on products, hiring and other issues as Tolia has. Gurley not only closes hires, but sources them for the startups he works with, says Tolia. “He is a true member of the team,” he adds.

This raises red flags. 

It's not the venture capitalist's job to make product decisions and hiring decisions.

That is MANAGEMENT'S job.

Does that mean they show up to meetings they schedule on time?  Or if you are a true artisan, you come fashionably late? 

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