I’m lucky enough to be partnering with the amazing Lizzie Francis in launching Brilliant Ventures, a firm that’s committed to going beyond capital for brilliant entrepreneurs. Lucky, not only because Lizzie is brilliant and well-respected and one of my favorite people, but also because we saw eye to eye on the most important thing we needed to do at the very beginning — before we activated deal flow, or engaged co-investors, or started raising funds.
When Lizzie and I started working together, the culmination of a 15 year friendship, we made a set of promises — to ourselves, one another, and ultimately, the many stakeholders in our business (investors, partners, founders, employees, our friends and family). These promises represent our values, and they will be key to our success. Why?
Yesterday we spent time with Julie Sandler at Madrona VentureGroup, who in addition to being a venture capitalist, also just spent a year as a Presidential Leadership Scholar. When Lizzie asked her about the gems she took away from that experience, she cited President Clinton (the first one) on the importance of relying on values as guideposts in decision-making. We agree. Value-driven decisions are easier to make and easier to live with. They are efficient and, assuming you and your company’s values are good ones, effective and likely to ensure that you do the right thing, versus the expedient thing, even in the most challenging situations.
Here’s how we think. Brilliant Ventures promises to:
A friend who does a lot of angel investing told me he believes in our thesis that companies with women at the helm are more likely to be successful across a number of metrics, but that the one that matters most to him is culture. Companies with women at the helm are more likely to create strong cultures, a key asset for breakthrough companies (and one he requires before investing his capital). We share the values that drive our culture in hopes of encouraging others to think about their own — and in turn make great decisions that contribute to great cultures and brilliant companies.