In an open retrospective, Eden Shochat, from Aleph VC, asks what they could do better to help the companies they invest in. I really appreciate the openness of the Aleph VC blog and if they are willing to ask what they could do better, I’m willing to make some suggestions.
One of the key points that resonated with me was when Eden notes, “…what’s not represented here but is disappointing is the usage level of our “Welcome Kit”: the special deals we negotiated (spent a lot of time doing) for our companies.”
Having negotiated many deals and made use of similar VC provided “Welcome Kits”, I understand their disappointment. Startups don’t always have the resources/knowledge to make use of services when they aren’t core to the problem they’re solving. As a result, they ignore or poorly implement them.
From the startup’s side it’s like handing a baker a plow and wondering why he didn’t make bread. They want to handle customer support, they want to send marketing and retention newsletters, etc. but they don’t have the people to answer the support requests and they don’t have someone to write the copy.
In my humble opinion, VCs would be better off providing more full service platforms on which startups can build. Most of the work is very generic and problems more or less solved. No need for each startup to figure out how to host a highly available, high performance website. Basic customer support, social marketing, copy writing, etc. should not be taking the company’s focus away from their objectives.
VCs could be parents dropping their kids off at the mall with $200 or they could be the shoulders of giants, upon which budding companies stand.