David Smooke

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Who’s a Venture Capitalist’s Customer?

Foundry’s Brad Feld #Connect17 Interview (2/8)

It’s not as simple as just serving who invests in the fund

David Smooke: So today you talked a lot about customer centric. I wanted to start with who’s your customer?

Brad Feld: For Venture Capitalists, there’s a long standing debate about who your customer is. Because, we have on one side an investor of ours who gives us money.

David Smooke: Yup.

Brad Feld: Theoretically, they’re a customer. On the other side, you have the founder who we give money to. So theoretically, they’re a customer. The frame of reference of how you interact with them should be relatively consistent. But then, there’s another dynamic, which is, there’s a whole bunch of people that are, you’re not an investor in, and that you have some kind of relationship with. Whether their co-investors, or strategic partners, or people who are interested in what you’re doing, or prospective investees and entrepreneurs you want to get to know, and need. Or just people in your network. I tend to think of it similar to what I described when I was talking today. I’m less interested in the ridged definition. I think of it as just a bunch of different entities. And my engagement with each of the entities, whether it’s an LP or a portfolio company, a Founder, a CEO, a co-investor. Any of those entities I try to treat as a customer, in terms of my dynamic with them.

David Smooke: Pretty long winded. So what are you serving everybody now?

Brad Feld: No it’s from my frame of reference, I try to stay in the head space of: I have one to one relationships with lots of different people. I need to make sure those one to one relationships are really one to one.

David Smooke: Yeah. Coming to an event like this for-

Brad Feld: You don’t like long winded answers? They’re the best kind.

David Smooke: No, I do like them-

Brad Feld: You have to edit them, you have to work on it.

David Smooke: Yeah. I’m thinking about the framing, and what it is.

Brad Feld: Or you can just decide not to, you know, ‘fuck it this is too hard.’ I’m not gonna bother with this one.

Read The Rest of Foundry’s Brad Feld #Connect17 Interview

  1. Writer / Publisher Relations on Medium
  2. Who’s a Venture Capitalist’s Customer?
  3. The Venture Capitalist’s Writing Process
  4. The Venture Capitalist at His Investment’s First Conference
  5. How Brad Feld Realized He Was a Venture Capitalist
  6. What Venture Capitalists Can Bring to Product Development
  7. The Nearly 30 Year Quest To Solve The Business Address Book Problem
  8. How Venture Capitalists Market Their Stories

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