Early Stage Team Patterns
Fred Wilson posted this fireside chat between Eric Ries, Chris Dixon, and Marc Andreessen.
I’ve been thinking a lot on my experience interacting with early stage founders. We are constantly trying to understand the patterns and I have an ongoing working thesis on the type of teams we are looking for.
It’s great to see that what I believe in terms of bottom-up market sizing is important to Marc, too.
The video recording of the talk made me think about what we are looking for going into the next batch. Here are two segments that I particularly enjoyed.
- founders that break regulations vs innovate within regulations
- what Andreessen Horowitz looks for?
Here is the video and my notes on the two segments.
Healthcare and Financial services: as examples of the extremely regulated (13:05)
- founders either do radicalized disruption or within regulation
- example: bitcoin is a release valve that is outside the system; there is a regulatory window to sneak through
- experienced entrepreneurs tend to be more conservative with regulations but we tend to see them tackle harder problems
What Andreessen Horowitz looks for in teams? (26:39)
- How your background led you to start this company?
- Explain the startup as Idea-maze: startup idea is like a maze, navigate that maze, model (map) out the maze, think through all the challenges
- What turn us off: top-down market size slide and a slice of that market; do bottom up and show evidence to back that up
- How can you be so compelling that the VC and employees will follow you? The key is to explain the “why.”
Going into Recruiting Mode
I wrote and shared an investment thesis last Fall and got some good comments. The piece was looking at the virtuous cycles of commerce platforms. However, that was a very different dimension in terms of assessing teams.
Through looking at the 2 classes of JFDI teams we worked with in 2013, I formed a short list of traits (currently 6-7 points) I should look out for. Adding to this list, I would try and include some of the key points Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon mentioned, including aptitude towards disruption.
Here is another great list compiled together by Michael Skok. Jeff Paine also shared his thought on this topic, and they made a lot of sense.
I have a lot to learn.