20VC: How To Build Credibility with Investors, Employees and Customers, How To Determine When A Stretch VP is A Stretch Too Far and The Right Way For Founders To Think About Dilution with Amol Deshpande, Founder & CEO @ Farmers Business Network
Posted on 21st September 2018 by hstebbings1
Amol Deshpande is the Co-Founder and CEO at Farmers Business Network, the farmer-to-farmer agronomic information network improving the livelihood of farmers by making data useful and accessible. To date, they have raised a whopping $193m in funding from the likes of Kleiner Perkins, T Rowe, GV, Temasek and more. As for Amol, prior to founding FBN, he was a Partner @ Kleiner Perkins where he was a partner on the early stage investing team. Prior to joining Kleiner, Amol was at Cargill and Black River Asset management and was an entrepreneur in the agriculture sector.
1.) How Amol made his way into the world of startups, came to be a Partner @ Kleiner Perkins and then came to change the world of farming with Farmers Business Network?
2.) What were Amol’s biggest takeaways from his time with Kleiner? Although important to think really big, how does Amol think about the Peter Thiel School of Thought, starting in a very small niche and expanding? Where does Amol see many founders go wrong when it comes to market size and assessment?
3.) How does Amol believe the very best CEOs hire the very best talent? What core characteristics does Amol look for when adding to his exec team? What are the leading questions and indicators that would excite/concern Amol? Why does Amol believe the smartest people do not always make the best hires? What are the core signs that a stretch VP is a stretch too far?
4.) What is the key to success for founders in building credibility with customers, investors and their board? What is the most challenging element of credibility building? Where does Amol see many founders go wrong and lose credibility today? How does your approach have to alter according to which class of individual you are looking to build with?
5.) How does Amol fundamentally approach the topic of capital efficiency? What does Amol believe is the right way for founders to think about dilution when raising? How does Amol determine when is the right time to raise big and pour fuel on the fire?