– lower management fees so that they cover necessary expenses an reasonable salaries (e.g. 200K, not 3M). basically be like a startup and only make real money when your investors make money.
– keep a database of every employee of every company I invested in. so for example when a company goes under, you can help their employees and your investments by finding jobs for the best employees.
– negotiate group discounts with the best vendors (lawyers, accountants, cleaning services, SEO services, real estate brokers) and give every company a list of those vendors
– have everyone at the firm blog/tweet and let them do so authentically, even if it means sometimes criticizing the firm.
– have regular discussion groups where companies discuss very tactical issues and share solutions.
– stop kidding yourself that you add a lot of value beyond recruiting/intros/governance/financing/selling companies. this let’s you relax your “need to own X% of the company” rule and also lets you focus on things you really help with.
– have offices that look and cost like startup offices. or better yet, don’t have offices at all – spend your time visiting companies.
– kill the partner presentation. too much emphasis placed on presentation skills. instead go spend a day working with the CEO before you invest to get to know them in their real habitat.
– change the accounting so you can start caring about IRR more than just amount of money returned.
– spend lots of time networking with press & potential bizdev partners so you can make valuable intros when needed.
– have far fewer meetings with startups – screen them better beforehand (the “kissing lots of frogs” problem)
– have far fewer meetings in general
– don’t talk/tweet/blog about your vineyard, yachting, golfing etc while you tell your CEOs to work non-stop and be frugal etc.
– use your brand (and/or join together with other VCs) to recruit top talent (particularly engineers) from top schools. tell top students they are guaranteed a job in your portfolio even if the one they join goes under.
– have standardized, simple legal documents to keep seed and Series A financing costs under $10K.
– say no to companies. saying “come back later” feels like a free option to you but actually hurts you and the startup in the long run.
– never miss a meeting or show up late without apologizing
– no smart phones in meetings. better to just not take the meeting or make it 15-30 minutes but actually listen.
– i’d hire some female investors (and maybe some male receptionists).