It has been a while since my last post on June 11th, which I wrote as I was heading over to Poland to watch Euros soccer. The soccer trip was great. I did not manage to stick with my “delete all email” plan. I had my wife’s iPad with me, and could not resist the urge to keep up on a few matters. And it was not really possible to only see those “few” matters on email. But, that consumed not more than about an hour a day, and having the iPad allowed me to easily talk with my family. So, I guess I failed my own test, but the trade off of seeing my kids and wife was worth it.
The trip was great. The best “fan base” award goes to the Irish fans who are completely nuts – they know their team is not good so their expectations of winning are low. Instead they dress up in their country’s colors and endlessly party. Fun all around.
This has been my first full week back. On the way to the dentist this morning (starting to feel like a Brad Feld wannabe with sharing too much personal information), I thought about what a crazy week it has been. Then I realized it was completely typical. Highlights:
1. Met with 5 new companies/entrepreneurs to talk about their companies. Some meetings in person, some on the phone. All interesting and I have no good idea yet if any will be worth follow up.
2. Dealt with some mind numbing details surrounding the winding down of a portfolio company that was just sold in a stock for stock transaction. The issues dealt mostly with managing tax payments to the government on income deemed earned by management team members on receipt of the buyer’s stock. That is never a fun exercise – receiving non-liquid stock and having to pay tax in real dollars based on the value of the stock. I want to stress that being able to deal with lots of boring details is a skill set that a good CEO needs. It is not a process to embrace, but a necessity.
3. Spent a day at a board meeting for Launch NY, a non-profit initiative. Launch NY hopes to bring the JumpStart model (northeast Ohio) to upstate NY.
4. Been working feverishly to get a new investment deal closed. Documents flying back and forth, lawyers working hard, etc.
5. Had a great call with the founders of a company (in which we have not invested) and a potential new board member for that company. I was lucky enough to be able to make this introduction; this call was part of our due diligence process and also a way to really help out the founders, both of whom I like a lot. Hope this goes somewhere and we get more involved.
6. Met with the head of eLab, a student incubator here at Cornell. I am chairman of eLab, and we are moving it to the next level of service. Lots of politics to navigate.
7. Dealt with (and continue to deal with) a sticky business situation that I cannot share details about, but it has consumed many hours of time.
8. Had a weekly call for one of the CVF companies. The CEO holds these calls every Friday and opens them to every board member and COO. Really a fabulous and pretty painless communication tool. Not for every company, but good to consider.
9. I am on the boards of 5 CVF portfolio companies, and have communicated with every CEO multiple times this week. 3 on both phone and email and all 5 on email. Lots of time, lots of issues, lots of successes and lots of problems to solve.
I know that I have left stuff out. My point though for sharing all this is only to illustrate the incredible variety of issues/highlights/problems that VCs deal with day to day, every day. Call us lucky. Call us crazy. Both exciting and tiring.
Have a great weekend.