20VC: The Transition From Founder To CEO, How To Determine When To Stretch On Price in Venture & The Benefits of Attribution for Partnership Dynamics with Jeff Richards, Managing Partner @ GGV Capital
Posted on 4th March 2019 by Harry
Jeff Richards is Managing Partner @ GGV Capital, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Alibaba, Slack, Square, Xiaomi, Peloton, OpenDoor, just to name a few. As for Jeff, he sits on the board of or is an observer at BigCommerce, Brightwheel, Gladly, Lambda School, Namely and Tile just to name a few. Jeff also led GGV’s investments in Buddy Media (acquired by Salesforce), HotelTonight, Flipboard and has been actively involved in GGV’s investments in Opendoor, Domo, Square and Wish. Prior to joining GGV, Jeff founded two software companies: R4 (acquired by VeriSign), and QuantumShift, backed by Texas Pacific Group (TPG).
1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of VC with GGV from founding and scaling 2 software companies in the 90s? What were Jeff’s 2 biggest takeaways from having the company he founded raise over $100m then go to $0 in the crash?
2.) How does Jeff approach and see the transition from founder to CEO today? When does this transition need to occur? How do first-time founders differ compared to experienced serial entrepreneurs when it comes to building their teams? Where do they often struggle or make mistakes? What advice does Jeff offer them?
3.) Jeff has previously said, “do not raise for the highest valuation”, what is his thinking here? What specific examples does Jeff have of why it can hurt and damage both the founder and the company? How does Jeff think about his own price sensitivity today? How does he determine when a stretch is a stretch too far? From backing the likes of Alibaba, Xiaomi and Didi, what were his biggest takeaways when it came to price?
4.) Decision-making is one of the only products venture has, how does Jeff and GGV approach decision-making as a firm today? Being a slightly later stage firm, how do they think about reserve allocation? What does the re-investment decision-making process look like? How does GGV think about attribution as a firm today? What are the benefits?
5.) What advice would Jeff give to an individual that has just entered VC? What does Jeff know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning? How does Jeff think about what it takes to be a truly special board member? What one or two things can a board member do to move the needle in their relationship with their founder?