Reflections on my first year as GP (and six years in VC!)Version One
The first week of September is my VC anniversary. This milestone is always a great forcing function to reflect on the past year, my contributions to the startup community, as well as my overall goals.
I’ve now been in VC for six full years, and I’ve written reflections dating back to 2013 when I started my journey as an analyst. For example, after year one, I thought about how VC aligned with my core values of learning, compassion, and freedom. After year four, I reflected on my initial interview with Boris and my first endeavour to build a data-driven sourcing model to predict startup success. And after year five, I shared how I try to prepare myself to survive the VC marathon.
What makes this anniversary so special is that it marks my first full year as General Partner.
Over the past year, I have been asked by many people what has changed for me now that I’m a GP. Do I feel, think, or act any differently?
On a day-to-day basis, the work is the same. I continue to source and lead deals. I advise and support our portfolio companies. And I work with my partner Boris to build the business that is Version One.
But beyond this, I’ve noticed two important changes:
- The way I approach investment decisions has slightly changed, as now the buck stops with me too. Before becoming a GP, my opinion on an investment mattered, but the outcome of the investment didn’t necessarily keep me up at night since Boris had the final say and technically, our LPs only held him accountable. Now as a GP, I’m no longer “advising” Boris on what to invest in. I am investing in a company too and have to be absolutely sure about the decision. What this means is that I am either making more quick gut decisions or am conducting even more due diligence than before. In other words, as a GP, I need to come to a firm decision and can’t stay on the fence.
- Another key shift is how I view my time. I’ve always felt that time is our scarcest resource, but now as a GP, I feel this pressure more than ever. While the operational work of running a fund is critical and has to be completed, it ultimately doesn’t contribute to upside or move the needle in creating return for our investors. Right now, I’m working on finding the right balance between administrative work and investing work. I also want to carve out time to be reflective, intentional and proactive. As we all know, it’s way too easy to fall into a reactive mindset, especially since sifting through all the endless noise gives us a sense of being productive.
What’s next for Year 7?
This is a privileged career and I am continually grateful that I get to work closely with incredible entrepreneurs who have a passion to use tech to democratize resources and make the world a better place (as aligned with our core beliefs).
From this standpoint, I’d like Year 7 to be more of the same… keep building Version One and investing in the best founders. As an early GP, I do feel like I am at an inflection point in my career and I’m looking forward to working with an executive coach to help get from my functional self to optimal self. And, we’re also adding a third member to Version One. Part of our growth is adding capacity and diversity… we’re still hiring, so please spread the word!
Thanks to everyone who has been on this journey with me, and a special thanks to Boris, the very best partner anyone could ever ask for. I’m very proud of and excited by what we are building at V1!