Knowledge Center: Publication
Chief Executive Officer & Board of Directors
Assembling a venture-backed company board4/23/2014 Rebecca Foreman Janjic and Mark H. Livingston
Establishing and maintaining an effective board requires skill and tact under even the most favorable circumstances. From exercising oversight, to balancing the competing interests of stakeholders, to addressing the many other issues that, broadly speaking, fall under governance, the challenges can be daunting. In the fast-forward world of venture capital, those familiar issues are greatly magnified by rapidly changing competitive markets for portfolio companies, explosive growth rates, succeeding rounds of investment, and potentially conflicting exit timing and strategy among the investor base.
Based on our experience helping VC firms build and maintain boards for their portfolio companies — and on a series of conversations we recently conducted with leading venture capitalists — the most intimidating of those challenges not only differ in degree from those faced by public companies, and even other private companies, but often differ in kind. While no perfect responses to these issues exists, understanding their dynamics and addressing them can help ensure that the board of a venture capital-backed company (VCBC) does what any effective board should: advance the interests of the enterprise with appropriate corporate governance, which, in the long run, advances the interests of the VC firm.