Valor Venture Capital Founder Survey 2022
This June, Valor sent out our annual founder survey. We ask portfolio company leaders how we make a difference.
Founders talk a lot about the value of a VC. Sadly, the prevailing school of thought is that most VCs don’t add much value past capital invested. Valor’s perspective is that mentorship and operational expertise are super valuable, especially at seed, where we invest. If we can lift the trajectory of a startup even 20% in that first year–that multiplies into years of speed down the road, as the firm approaches IPO or exit. Whether it’s Gary reflecting on how his mentor taught him venture capital finance, or Lisa sharing how valuable the EO and Kauffman networks have been for her, each person on our team knows mentoring relationships matter.
How do founders rate VCs?
We sent an anonymous survey through our fund management system. We shared a list of the regular activities Valor does for our portfolio companies.
- Recruiting talent
- Providing next-level investor intros
- Sounding-board (board of director)
- Product development support
- Sales coaching
- Introducing potential customers
- Founder-founder peer intros
We asked each of them to force-rank how valuable these are for them.
Valor Founder-VC Ratings 2022
Across our portfolio, founders told us our top 3 most valuable activities are:
- Sound-boarding (listening, advising, helpful board director, etc.)
- Providing next-round investor intros
- Introducing potential customers
We loved the qualitative feedback too. Here’s a sampling:
You guys are my most active investor. If I ever need anything, Gary and Robin will drop what’s going on to take my call. But I don’t feel pressure from Valor to do specific things with the business – you let me own where this is going and I feel nothing but support.
Founders are lonely. I recall wasting 3 days in Dallas and called Lisa and just vented to her, and she was there for me to listen. I felt bad afterwards but I needed someone to talk to and she was there for me. Or when we had our parenting plan and I had no one in my network to talk to and Lisa provided me with access to her network. Invaluable.
Valor’s enthusiastic, supportive, challenging, founder-focused communications and events are very high value to me and my entire team.
Getting advice and feedback is useful, getting advice and feedback exactly when it can be applied is golden.
Founder-VC Ratings for Valor
Our final question was a blank row of five stars. We asked founders to give us a star ranking as their seed VC. It was the ultimate humbling experience to have these leaders share that Valor gets 5 of their 5 stars. That’s a legacy we intend to build on. We’re paying attention to what moves the needle for the leaders inventing at the forefront of their industries.
How We Use Founder Ratings
This feedback will go into our processes and help us double-down on the activities that founders tell us are most important. If you think about it, we have one job: helping our founders grow from startups to scaled powerhouses, as fast as possible. That work drives all other outcomes–returns, profits, and growth for our partnership. One examples of ways we are already putting this feedback to work is in our investment management system, Vector, built on top of Salesforce. We track the work we do for founders. We expect to be able to start providing monthly reports to our founders of the introductions we’ve made and the opportunities we’ve helped them win.
I’m proud our portfolio founders, who had choices in their seed VC, chose Valor–and often chose Valor to lead. As we work to make them the best they can be, we’re also listening hard to them so we can be the best we can be, for them.
Do you think you might be a future Valor founder? Let us know.