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Annually in June, Valor surveys our portfolio company founders on how we are doing as their first VC.

We do this anonymously, using out investment management platform build on Salesforce, so our founders can share openly. This year, founders shine a light on the strength of our network and platform as the key reason for choosing Valor. The Valor platform has 4 pillars:

  1. Partnership network that’s created over $10B in shareholder value in the South.
  2. Sourcing networking programs like Startup Runway that highlight preseed founders of excellence.
  3. Ecosystem education and encouragement platforms like the Atlanta Startup Podcast that share and accelerate success in the region.
  4. Engagement platforms like our VC DAY, the largest private early stage VC conference in the South, held concurrently with Valor’s annual meeting.

Our founding CEOs shared their top three value drivers from us as their seed lead VC this year:

  1. Board directors ability to soundboard and listen
  2. Partnership network of Valor investors
  3. Customer introductions

Ask them how many stars they’d give us? Again, we were honored to be highly ranked–4.8 stars out of a potential 5. It was a very challenging year for all venture-backed companies and I’m super proud our board directors got these high marks. What makes us most satisfied is knowing that even anonymously, founders see enormous unique value in what we’re bringing to the table. The three big take aways–

  1. Personalized Guidance and Support. ¬†Sound-boarding and board support again ranked #1 for Valor founders in the things we do as their seed lead VC. We defined that as, “Soundboarding – listening, advising, helpful board director, etc.) Founders praised Valor

    Valor portfolio CEO Sofiat Abdulrazaaq and investor William Leonard at a founder mixer in Lisa’s home.

    for tailored insights and the ability to truly listen and address their needs. As one founder mentioned,“The personalized guidance and support from Valor have been instrumental in overcoming the challenges we faced. Their team took the time to understand our specific situation and provided invaluable advice that helped us make critical decisions with confidence.”

    2. An Unforgettable Experience at VC DAY. One of the standout highlights from the survey was the overwhelmingly positive feedback about VC DAY. Founders praised it in multiple ways, and one CEO wrote in,

    “The December event was one of the most valuable, well planned, and substantive events I have been to in a long time. I was genuinely impressed and the value we received from it fundamentally improved our business.”

A group of Valor partners hearing founder stories at VC DAY.

3. Valuable Founder Network and Connections. A thriving founder network is a crucial aspect of any startup ecosystem, and Valor excels in fostering meaningful connections among its founders.  As one founder expressed,

“The connections I’ve made through Valor’s network have been invaluable. Being able to exchange ideas, learn from others, and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs has significantly contributed to our growth and development.”

This feedback underscores the importance of building a strong support system and the value of peer-to-peer learning, which Valor actively cultivates through its events and networking initiatives. Several founders also mentioned how important it was to them that Valor made early, enterprise, high value customer connections, or helped draft/model their first channel MSAs or other sales documentation. These specifics stood out for founders as Valor delivering on far more than capital, and really coming through with more connections to opportunity at multiple levels.

Valor portfolio CEO Jennifer Silverberg next to Valor partners Michele Perry and Michael Mansfield at VC DAY.

We also asked them to share what we could do even better on, which motivates us. There’s always room to improve. We learned we could do an even better job of tailoring introductions and network for each founder. As a result of this survey, we have already kicked off an assessment profile for venture partners, board candidates and other partners in our network, so we have even more specific and even greater visibility across our growing network to make proper connections for our founders.

When it comes to some of the ways we can improve, we’re taking to heart suggestions on programming, templating, and activation groups our CEOS want more of to continue to scale and thrive. Our CEOs asked for more ways to connect with each other–and we’re kicking some exciting new programming off for just that goal for this year’s VC DAY, December 7, at the Woodruff Performing Arts Center.

Valor’s 2023 survey results are a compelling glimpse into the impact our firm has on the entrepreneurial journeys of our founders.

Valor general partner Gary Peat sharing startup war stories at summer mixer in Lisa’s home.

At the time of this survey, across our portfolio these leaders were, collectively, growing ARR at 107% year over year. Just in the last 30 days, the group as a whole notched 3 major markups, and two acquisition offers.

If you’re looking to raise a seed round from an actively involved lead investor, please reach out to us here.