Authored by Moshe Zilberstein, Partner at Next47
There are many reasons why entrepreneurs would delay partnering with a VC, or even avoid it altogether. It all boils down to one word: control. By accepting funds from a VC, you lose control, right? Not really. The key here is to not choose just any VC. Entrepreneurs get the best outcome when they partner with a VC with benefits. This refers to VCs that offer far more than just a check. They need to offer value-add services, which ultimately prove to be priceless.
There are good VCs, and there are exceptional VCs
VCs mean well. Whether it’s for their own business interests, or for the greater good—they want their ventures to achieve nothing less than success. How they help their ventures achieve that success is a whole different ball game, and there are many factors involved.
Some VCs simply provide funds, and are barely active beyond that point, with the exception of quarterly meetings. While the financial backing is certainly helpful, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg when considering all that is needed for a startup to navigate through its unique journey.
Good VCs offer value-add services, thereby playing a more active role in the relationship with each of their ventures. In these cases, the benefits would typically include introductions to potential clients and/or partners, and assistance with recruiting all-stars to join the executive team. The effectiveness of these offerings vary on a firm-to-firm basis. Some VC’s have large teams, while others have fewer members who each have tremendous clout. The general work culture and style of the VC also comes into play, as some tend to be warm, while others prefer to get right down to business.
The most exceptional VCs act as true partners all the way through. In addition to funds, it is important for strong VCs to have the right key relationships, global reach, insights, and discipline. A VC that is a true partner will assist their portfolio companies through many different stages, both good and bad. They wouldn’t expect their portfolio companies to have everything figured out and set in stone straight from the get-go. If anything, the most beneficial of VCs will gladly tap into their resources as needed to assist with initial challenges, such as determining marketing fit, offering insights on the go-to-market, and direct assistance in scaling efforts.
Israeli VCs are as unique as the startups themselves
It is known that Israel ranks first in number of start-ups per capita, and venture capital investments per capita. What many don’t realize is that the Israeli VC ecosystem also tends to be more collaborative than their international counterparts. There are local funds, and international funds, some of which have local offices in Israel. They carry out the largest number of investments in early-mid stage companies with every intention to go the extra mile alongside them, and there are several reasons why.
For starters, the Israeli startups scene and VC community are relatively tight-knit, due to the concentration of startups in Israel, which is a small place. Due to the unofficial sense of kinship, Israeli VCs differentiate themselves by paying it forward by taking part in exclusive events to offer advice and feedback to promising startups. The innate sense of cooperation is another attribute that is unique to Israeli startups and VCs. It is common practice for VCs to send potential deals to one another, and discuss joint opportunities with other funds. It helps close rounds far more quickly.
Connections are key
The adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” rings true in the business world. Time and time again, we see wonderful startups not reach their full potential due to limited connections. Without the right connections, it simply isn’t enough to have a great product, great vision, and great team.
The strongest of VCs will be part of a global network that is spread across numerous regions, from Israel, to Asia, to Europe, to the U.S., and beyond. By partnering with a VC with hands-on business development capabilities, entrepreneurs will have access to hundreds of unique ways to achieve growth. From making intros to potential customers, to assisting with building products, to financial planning and GTM strategy, to navigating through the many complexities that come at every turn of the startup life—it is highly recommended for startups to partner with a VC with benefits.