“The days are long but the years are short” applies to parenting and venture firms. Satya and I raised Homebrew’s first fund Q1 2013 and now, four years later, we held our 4th annual meeting last week, just days before our official birthday (anniversary of fund close).
For VCs, annual LP meetings are combination Board Meeting + Community Event. We spent an afternoon with our investors, providing updates on fund performance, market dynamics and future plans. Several founders gave 10-12 minute updates on their companies, and then, a dinner with our LPs, Homebrew founders and fund advisors. It’s of course not the only time our investors hear from us – we send our quarterly letters with financial statement, and given that our investor base is largely institutional, see them individually once or twice a year in-person (in addition to ‘as-needed’ conversations when they’re referencing other fund managers, discussing direct investment opportunities in our portfolio companies and so on).
If you’re interested in what gets covered and how these meetings evolve, here are summaries from our first three:
Satya wrote up Year Four – 2017 so rather than repeat what he covered, let me add just two personal observations.
- Founder < > Market Fit Is Beautiful – Watching five founders present their companies we were struck by how strongly each startup was an extension of their founders, even as some scaled to teams an order of magnitude larger than they were when seed funded. Homebrew founders care deeply about the problems they are solving and treat their company as their first product, in the care they apply to building diverse teams, mission-driven cultures and responsible growth strategies.
- I Don’t Generically Like VC. I Like Satya, Our Founders, Our Investors and Homebrew’s Model – If I wasn’t doing Homebrew, I likely wouldn’t be the 3rd, 7th or 11th partner at someone else’s fund. I wouldn’t be the consumer guy at a $1b fund. And I wouldn’t be making 100 small investments a year. Maybe I’ll feel differently in three, seven or 10 years, but just as we care about Founder < > Market fit in our investments, Homebrew was designed with the same care. That’s one reason why, when people ask me about interest in “getting into venture,” I try to help them understand that different roles, different models, different firms can lead to very different experiences and they shouldn’t generically seek to “become a VC.”
On to Year Five!