5. Pre-founder: People-focused investing

Pre-founder: People-focused businesses

Good talent is good talent. Getting back to basics: investing in talent.
Pre-founder: An individual with operational experience that fit expected qualities that would make for a good founder.

Define “talent”

talent: An individual person with expertise, and maybe network, in an industry.

Talent: A “star quality”, independently-thinking individual. An “it-factor” person with creativity and skill in a very specific space.

Why I care

In the startup ecosystem, “talent” has been broken up into two buckets: technical and nontechnical talent. Although there seems to be a never-ending shortage of technical talent, there’s no debate that almost half of venture dollars spent go to GTM and ads - and someone has to run that part.

My main petition is that there might be a shortage of GTM hires with enough product and SV context to really rip it.

Talent issues

There are also two main issues to talent, regardless of startup or not: recruitment and retention. For VC funds, in particular, retention in particular has been entirely difficult.


Founder→Market Fit: Founder has experienced the problem, has potential to sell accurately to potential Product→Market Fit: A product that solves a problem so well it generates demand within a market.

Founder→Customer Fit: Built in distribution to potential customers. This can be someone with a lot of followers or someone with a niche dentistry blog. Or a previous sales operator with a rolodex of potential customers. For this blog, I’m mostly thinking about a founder with online influence.