Many of the people I know in the venture capital business think their customers are their investors, called LPs in the industry vernacular. I’ve always thought that was dead wrong.
The entrepreneur is the customer and the LP is the shareholder. That’s the only way to think about the venture capital business that makes sense to me.
Fred Wilson has written a great post questioning who is the venture capital industries customer. Make sure to read the comments at the end of the post. I was immediately reminded of this June 2000 two part Red Herring interview (free registration required) with Bill Reichert, Managing Director of Garage. It listed the top ten myths and realities of Venture Capital. The article resonated strongly with dotbomb refugees who were caught high and dry when the tide went out. Five years on we are living in very different times. However myth 5 (below) continues to inspire me everyday to do what I am doing. Wise words indeed.
Myth No. 5: Find a need and fill it.
The reality: Anticipate a need and invent a market. As the great hockey pro Wayne Gretzky said, “Skate to where the puck is going to be.”