What makes a good investor for founders?

I’ve been reading a bit of Josh Cook’s posts recently on startup funding. There are a lot of questions he is asking related to my questions about who are the best angel investors and what makes a great angel investor.

In his post Partners vs. Investors there is a short mention of what founders care about in their investors and I thought this was an interesting line of thinking that hasn’t been explored deeply. Josh posted a couple of thoughts from founders he spoke with…

Brenden Mulligan: “For me, I wanted someone with experience in the space we were in, someone who had been an operator, firms with deep resources and solid product people. So everyone we raised from had to provide specific value. We didn’t worry about valuation. I think founders get way too tied up worrying about that.” Check out his post here for more detail.

Founder 2: “At the seed stage I really look for investor advisors, so not just a check and a headache.”

Definitely a good example of founders more interested in the value of the partner vs. the value of the investor. This is interesting considering the last two deals I have worked on contained a fair bit of negotiation around terms, control, etc. (demonstrating they cared more about the value of the investor vs. the value of the partner). Perhaps these two opposite ends were due to the unique nature of the deal, but I suspect most deals fall in one camp or the other and very few fall in between.

I also wonder how optimizing for partners vs. optimizing for investors affects the outcomes. Does one or the other equate to a more positive outcome?

What are your thoughts – what is the most important to your financing round or the deals that you work on… finding a quality partner or finding the most equitable terms?




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