I recently heard a successful serial entrepreneur and early stage investor state that the secret to early stage investing is to invest in ‘the chef not the recipe’. One of Silicon Valley’s greatest early stage investors, Bill Draper, used to tell me that he treated the entrepreneurs that he invested in like a stable of race horses – he invested in pedigree. They both learnt that great companies are made by their leaders/founders – not the other way round. Ideas evolve and change. After all, how many successful businesses got their idea, product or market entry right first time. Almost none. Great entrepreneurs know how to develop, evolve and switch their model until it gains traction. They have the energy, focus, fleet of foot, stamina and strategic/market intelligence to find the right path – over time. Often by getting it wrong at first or second. With tireless experimentation and iteration. One of the reasons that Silicon Valley VC’s are so successful is because they meet so many interesting entrepreneurs that over time they develop a nose for the right one. And they’ll back ‘em every time. So when you’re pitching for investment think about whether you’re selling the recipe or the Chef. I know which one I would invest in.
Leave a Reply