05 May “Get aboard with a Board” – the value of building strong startup boards
In this article I am making the case for the value that strong boards can bring to early stage companies. Having invested in scores of seed stage companies over the past 6 years, I am in no doubt that strong boards are a critical success factor.
Surrounding yourself with individuals who can bring the benefits of their experience and networks can be pivotal. Great board members should have a wealth of contacts and relevant business experiences that can help a young business to get through its growing pains. You should expect to receive great support from your board but also a healthy degree of challenge and constructive criticism – be prepared to listen, learn and adapt. These are the hallmarks of effective boards.
I really don’t buy the idea that you can be too early to have a board and it’s always a key consideration that I make when considering an investment opportunity, even at the seed stage. After all if you can attract strong board members to your startup then you’ll massively increase your chances of attracting funding. It’s really not rocket science.
Entrepreneurs are self-reliant, autonomous people. They’re going up against big odds to start a company, and they have the faith in their abilities to believe they can build a successful venture. These are valuable qualities, helping entrepreneurs to persevere through adversity.
As an early stage investor, I’ve had thousands of conversations with startup CEOs. I understand how autonomy is a key part of an entrepreneur’s personality. Countless times I’ve heard entrepreneurs say a board of directors is not necessary so early on in their startups’ life. They’re often repeating advice they’ve heard—advice I disagree with, and want to counter.