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Sequoia's Doug Leone loves early stage.

Stashed in: Venture Capital!, Faster!, Kleiner Perkins, Awesome, VC

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I love this:

As for what’s changed in the venture industry in recent years, Leone said that startups are growing more quickly because Web technology makes it easier to get products to market and build a customer base. Companies have less time to dither, for fear of being surpassed by a competitor or even a clone. So Sequoia is helping its startups hire the most talented people at the earliest stage.

“Being that speed and velocity are very important, we need to help companies locate the first five, six, 10 engineers,” he said. “We need to make sure that we do a whole bunch of things to help companies really get launching in the right trajectory as quickly as possible.”

There's also this slam of Kleiner Perkins:

“There’s a number of companies clearly that we wish we had invested in either at the early or at the moderate stage,” Leone said. “And there’s a whole bunch of companies that we’re glad we did not chase at the very high stages, either to buy a poster for our website or because we actually thought that investing in those stages would generate a return that would satisfy our own investors.”

More about the KP slam:

that's good news.

Well, what he doesn't talk about is that YCombinator has become the training ground for Sequoia.

Sequoia picks the startups it thinks will succeed from each batch and helps them recruit and grow.

Compare this with most other VCs, which have no coherent seed strategy. I think that's where the tilt at Kleiner Perkins is coming from.

Note also that he said "SPEED AND VELOCITY ARE IMPORTANT".

It's not just how fast you're going, but if you can accelerate.

Like running and skiing.

Excellent interview. This mindset shift to help seedstage startups thrive with right talent and strategy is the need of the hour. The old model where only 1% of startups get venture funded is not healthy. With right mentorship and bringing in key talent at the right time, more startups can be groomed to become fundable. I therefore agree with Doug 100%.

In this economy, we should be watering seeds and seedlings, and not trees.. The latter can survive one way or the other.

I wonder how many early stage companies Sequoia has funded in the last year.

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