T-birds from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010‘s gathered in Burlingame on Thursday evening to listen to a panel of venture capitalists share their wisdom and lessons learned over their years of experience funding Silicon Valley companies.
Over the fine cuisine of Sapore Italiano Restaurant on Burlingame Avenue, Thunderbird alums young, old and in the middle introduced themselves and shared about their businesses and their lives. Others had the chance to get caught up with old friends between courses of truly fine Italian classic dishes.
Chapter leader Doug Morin ('96) served as moderator and took questions from the audience. He kept the conversation lively and interesting while our four panelists shared tips and tales. They included:
Andrew Ogawa ('98) of Quest Venture Partners
Alain Labat ('80) of Harvest Mgt Partners
Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund
Megan Groves ('12) of Modular Marketing
Doug kicked off with a question, “What the #1 dumb mistake you see CEOs make over and over as they seek venture funding?”* That started an enlightening conversation that lasted for over an hour. Most of us felt that we could have listened for hours more. It was just the tip of the iceberg of their vast experience. Next time!
*Curious about the answers to that question? Dumb mistakes included…
Arrogance. (The company won’t succeed just because you are the CEO).
A lack of prep on the VC perspective. (They want to know how they’ll make money).
A bit of humility. (VCs don’t expect the CEOs to have the answers to everything).
About the Author - Theresa Marcroft ('83) consults to Silicon Valley companies as an (interim) Chief Marketing Officer / VP Marketing through her company, MarketSavvy Inc.