These days, I spend a lot of time in “meetings”. No specific agenda, just busy exploring my future as an “ex-VC”. As such, the other day, I met with the CEO of a recently VC-funded startup. This wasn’t our first meeting, so it presented a nice opportunity to see how slideware has become a working demo, soon to be a launched product. I was thoroughly impressed. But something didn’t feel right.
Yesterday, during a board meeting in Rehovot, I figured it out. Their office had too nice of a view (actually, quite like the view from the Gemini office…). Other than the view, the office was pretty ordinary (with the exception of a fussball table…). But it didn’t feel like a start-up. I have been to visit many companies in the past, and have personally worked at start-ups in their very early stage. When Mercury was a start-up, we had a villa in Herzelia for home. My office (as Ms. Marketing) was in one of the living rooms, with a very flimsy divider separating me from one of the engineers next to me. Basic desk, basic chair, basic computer.
As an “ex-VC”, I think that an entrepreneur that selects such an office is making a mistake. It might be “hardly a difference in cost”, or it might be “ready to go”, but in my mind, just doesn’t create the environment of a start-up.
Call me old fashioned, but I’m still a believer in the “garage” mode. Even if you have $3M in the bank, you shouldn’t behave like you do. You need to make ever $ count - and that is reflected in everything that a company does. Not just selection of furniture and computer equipment, but what kind of car do you rent when traveling, where do you stay, what food do you bring to the office, etc., etc., etc.
I know that VC’s are criticized for living “with a view”, while expecting entrepreneurs to sit in the garage. But lets think about that for a moment. The objective of an entrepreneur should be to make that $ last as long as possible, make as much progress in the business as possible, to get to the next funding point stronger, which allows to raise more money, at a higher valuation, and enables to attract better quality investors.
If I was an entrepreneur, I’d skip the view. Go to Rehovot. Bring Shnitzel, Rice and Tehina to the office from a local foodery for lunch and really watch that $… It’s an old saying, but still rings true “Cash is King”.