Holding Someone’s Hands

It’s a shame.
Every week I encounter entrepreneurs. Given that I look at early stage internet deals, a high percentage of them are first timers. And practically all of them have nobody to help them or walk them through the details of creating a new company and funding it.
It’s a real shame.
I would be the first to say that I’m no expert on this. But I try to help as many people as possible. Yes, it takes a lot of time but I’m willing to give that time out, even if it’s for goodwill and I only get a positive relationship out of it. I just hate seeing people either stumble around on their own or worse, get bad or imperfect advice.
Investors give you advice, but sometimes they aren’t entrepreneurs and can’t really know what it’s like to build product and a company. Or you wonder if the advice they’re giving you has their interests wrapped up in there, especially where funding is concerned.
Other entrepreneurs give you advice, but many of them are bitter with past experiences of investors and tend towards telling you how to do things in investor unfriendly ways. Or they have ways of doing things that they like and these may or may not apply to your situation.
Lawyers are supposed to give you advice, but they are only giving you advice that protects you, which is very company friendly. Also, many of them don’t understand the different phases of a company’s life cycle; they may have only done big corporate financings and have not done early stage. As your experience grows, the things that are important are different based on the size and stage of the company. It’s frequently up to the entrepreneur to educate the lawyer on how they want to do things, with the lawyer supporting. But you can’t educate your lawyer until you educate yourself. Oh, by the way, you have to pay lawyers to talk to them….
I’m probably one of the few people around who are schizophrenic and can wear both an entrepreneur and an investor hat; my model of advising and investing has helped me understand both sides of the equation. I also try to lay it all out and talk as broadly as I can about the implications of as many things on the table, both company and investor friendly and unfriendly. On topics in which I do not have experience, I say so and try to point them in the right direction.
Yes, my experience base is relatively low, but I am still willing to spend that time with entrepreneurs, because it sure seems like no one else is willing to. In general, I find mentorship to be severely lacking in the hustle/bustle of Silicon Valley…