How VCs really spend their time

Marc Andreessen nails it again:

How VCs spend an awful lot of their time, and why you should feel sorry for them:

My friends who are VCs seem to spend a surprising amount of their time working with their failing companies.

The reason goes right back to the definition of a VC’s ideal investment: their winners are succeeding — they don’t need very much help.

Some of the best VCs in the industry spend most of their time on their successes, helping to boost them to higher and higher levels of success.

But generally, life in the VC trenches seems to consist of trying to jumpstart or otherwise fix fatally flawed startups.

Can you imagine how un-fun that would be?

This has to be the one of the Top Five dirty little secrets of venture capital.

He does re-iterate a point I made on Shantanu’s blog a few weeks back: the best venture parter to work with is one who’s been in the industry for 20 years.


  1. VC World’s Sad Secrets And Glossing EVCA Stats

    Marc Andreessen’s new blog has run a good three part series on VC that Jason Ball, an early stage investor in London says reveals one of the top 5 dirty little secrets of VC and a tip on who the…

  2. Hi Jason, interesting post and I’ve forwarded the permalink to our shareholders. We have two professional VC’s on board that privately invested, and we were wondering what they were doing, as we don’t hear of see them very often. From your message I can conclude we as founders of Mobiya are doing a good job 😉

    Regards, Sacha
    VP Mobiya

    PS. I am a big follower of Marc Andreessen’s activities, mainly since the LoudCloud days.

  3. It’s true, and many VC’s are terrible at this part. But frankly I also think that they often don’t build up the toolkit around themselves to facilitate success.

    In the US, especially in silicon valley, there’s often a lot of VC’s who build these keiratsu’s which they lean on to improve, prop up or sometimes even borderline run their distressed business. Marketing, PR, advertising, recruiters and even training.

    In the EU capital communities I haven’t seen those resources around, but I think they will begin to increase these sorts of relationships.

    Funny enough, I met with a friend of mine today in the training and development space. She owns Funky Learning, which is quite well known UK training firm(sales, prince2, marketing, leadership training, etc.) we had an extensive conversation about exactly this problem, i.e. VC’s invest so much capital, yet they invest very little in the human capital side of things – which they treat in a very binary way, hire/fire.

    I think may VC’s could be more strategic with HOW they manage/guide/fix the poorer performing investments.

    I also thing that many times you need to know when to fold the cards early, and keep some of the capital.

  4. I think one of the key issues for a VC to get to grips with is : Is this company WORTH saving? Time marches on- sometimes that helps you and sometimes it hurts you. Knowing the difference is everything and no one wants to be involved in a fatally flawed start up…

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