Across nearly ten years as a CEO, three different companies, and now seven rounds of venture capital financing, I’ve finally figured it out. The real question when raising VC money is not so much about valuation, or deal terms, or a firm’s prestige, or all the connections they claim they will make for you (lumped into the “we bring more than just money” category) — but rather, who do you want on your Board? I don’t mean at the partnership level, but specifially, what partner do you want on your Board?
It’s funny, but when you’ve go the right partner, things like valuation and terms usually work themselves out — otherwise you won’t do the deal anyway.
So trust your gut on this one: having a Board member who will push and support, with whom you can imagine chalk-talking product strategy while stranded at O’Hare, who holds the mirror up to reflect the good and the bad … well that’s the real money card.