I have been thinking a lot about what it means a good (and a bad one) venture capitalist, so when my friend Brandan (and Rafeal) posted this chart on what young VC’s should strive for, the Y axis really got me thinking. I have heard a lot about this whole “value add” thing, but want to explore what it really means to “add value.” Broadly speaking ”value add”= helpfulness. It’s often described in the “why us” section of VC’s websites and mentioned at the point of a pitch (a good one), where an investor leans in and explains how taking his/her money will increase your odds of success. But everyone always claims to be helpful, but how do you really become helpful and how do I intended to woo entrepreneurs to take my money? Well, honestly I dont know yet. But I think I know how to find out.
Much like any good entrepreneur does before product/market fit, I intend to test my way to my value proposition. So over the last few weeks, in every meeting (and most importantly afterward), I have committed to being as helpful as I can be to anyone that crosses my path. Whether I think the entrepreneur is someone that I’d like to back in the future, or not- I have made a concentrated effort to be as helpful as possible. Following up with an email of suggestions, introducing them to people I know can be useful. Besides the fact that I honestly love helping people, doing this is an awesome way to hone the craft and get good at helping others, whether it pays dividends or not. Hopefully as I help more and more entrepreneurs I will discover my “value add.”