Well, here goes my first answer ever in Quora. I’ve been incredibly busy with Flipboard these days but I saw this thread and absolutely had to respond.
KPCB has been a key investor in my last two startups (Tellme, and now Flipboard) as well as Netscape, which acquired my first startup. I’ve worked with the whole team there for 15 years and I’m a better entrepreneur because of it.
When people ask me what it’s like to partner with KP I tell them 3 things:
1. If you are an entrepreneur and you want to change the world, to do something truly breakthrough which will completely transform an industry, then KP is a must. Few VCs have the determination, long term thinking, wisdom, contacts, horsepower, and above all, the *courage* necessary to build a company that can achieve this. It’s both a skill set and a mind set that KP specialises in. They think AND act big and when the going gets tough and other VCs are running for cover, KP doubles down.
2. Just 15 minutes of John’s time can change the fundamental trajectory of your company. He is so well connected, and more importantly, respected, that he can arrange a substantive discussion with literally anyone in the world. When I’ve called John for help he’s always quickly responded and gone beyond the call of duty even though he has never officially been on my board. He knows what it takes to change the world because he’s done it before, multiple times. John’s vision, drive and principle inspires entrepreneurs like me to grow as leaders and be better people. Life is short. Do something important. That is the overwhelming sense you get when you talk to John.
3. KP’s partners have a broad array of skills and deep specialisation that is extremely useful for entrepreneurs. Just one example: Ellen Pao is the partner at KP who I asked to join my board at Flipboard. She used to work for me at Tellme crafting some of our first business partnerships. She was phenomenal then and she’s even more phenomenal now. She’s like another member of my team and is willing do whatever is necessary to help me build Flipboard including acting as our first business development lead. Beyond Ellen, there’s Bing, Juliette, Randy, the list goes on. These are all people who have what it takes to build great companies and operate with excellence, setting the bar high for the companies they work with.
Bottom line: KP is about changing the world through entrepreneurs and startups. They don’t mess around with small or trendy ideas. They do what it takes over the long haul to make their companies and entrepreneurs successful no matter how grand or how trivial. The Internet has had its first wave of companies that have changed the world, many of which were backed by KP. Now there is a new wave developing and KP is firmly there with investments like Zynga, Chegg, ngmoco:), and now Flipboard. And their iFund makes them the single best VC for startups looking to harness the opportunities created by Apple’s iOS platform. They are not resting and I’m confident you’ll see KP behind the next Google, the next Netscape, the next Amazon.
In my opinion, any entrepreneur who wants to change the world and build a huge company would be crazy not to look at KP as one of the most valuable and enabling VCs they could possibly talk to.
For an opposing view on KP, see here.
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