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Monday, September 29, 2008

VCs and their relationship with the entrepreneur

I read recently from a VC on the GigaOm blog:

we are also working on behalf of our limited partners to provide a return on their investment and that, in some instances, can admittedly result in a conflict of interests between us and the entrepreneur

For a VC to write this is at the minimum an understatement, there is a HUGE conflict of interest between a VC and an entrepreneur:
- the VC is paid by investors (LPs) to generate for them as much of the value as possible from a given business. What matters is how much the return will be in the end.
- Meanwhile, the Entrepreneur is trying to generate value from the business for himself.

To say that you could work in the middle to keep both happy cannot be true: if you are a VC your job is to generate as much value as possible for your LPs and nothing else. Your duty goes to fulfilling the engagement made to the person who trusted you with his/her money, no choice if you want to keep the LPs trust and your job as a VC.

What is probably true is that they may try to make it as painless as possible for the entrepreneur, but this is a very different proposition. In the end, we know where the value generated goes when VCs are involved: LPs first, whether they are comfortable with it or not.
It does not mean that you should not work with them, but clearly you should know what you are getting into...