Characteristics VCs are looking for in a CEO
Starting a company and becoming a CEO takes hard work and dedication. It isn't for the faint of heart. Effective leadership is the most important aspect of a company and its team's success. But what makes a leader effective?
I wrote a piece on the Best Traits of a Successful CEO. This is MY perspective on the 3 main qualities of a CEO for growing a successful company.
But what does a VC look for?
Firas Raouf wrote a good piece for Inc. listing his Top 3 Qualities. While I think his three qualities:
A crystal clear and compelling vision
The ability to attract, recruit, and retain top talent
A track record of successfully executing against a vision
are all valid, I think a there are a few more qualities that can be added to the list.
Based on my experience working with CEOs and companies from around the world, a CEO must possess these certain traits to truly become a great leader in the eyes of a VC:
Can articulate the business and the vision clearly, concisely, and compellingly.
Has a demonstrated ability to push the company forward (“here’s what we achieved in the past quarter, here’s how it compares to what we thought we’d do…”)
Has an impressive grasp of their users’/customers’ mental makeup, psychology, reasons for buying, etc. You can tell that they’ve gone through the hundreds of conversations required to really understand what will satisfy these people.
Is resourceful — has an impressive amount of progress to show for a small amount of money & time.
Is not defensive about risks and weaknesses in the business.
Doesn’t wait for permission to get started / never blames money or investors for why they haven’t built or sold anything yet.
Can think strategically over the long run — is focused on executing near-term goals, but can explain how these goals help accumulate intermediate assets that let them shoot for a real big prize in the more distant future.
While technical expertise is important, marrying technical skills with short-term milestones and rapid execution is crucial. As Peter Drucker states, effective executives "get the right things done" - at the right time.
Learn What a VC is Looking For
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