Moving Forward and Beyond: Our Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Harassment

The business case for supporting diverse teams is cut and dried. This blog is not the place for a recap of the comprehensive and compelling data on the topic. Instead, we want to move the conversation forward from “Why?” to “Here’s how.”

The past year, and especially the past month since International Women’s Day, has exploded with new voices, organizations, and initiatives for moving the tech and venture industries forward. It has sparked conversation and, more importantly, action, not just in the broader community but also in our own tight-knit office at Laconia.

When I received an offer to join Laconia full-time about a year and a half ago, I was ecstatic. Having entered the VC world at age 19, I had already learned the hard way how important it is to work with advocates and allies. My decision to join Laconia full-time was solidified in no small part by Jeffrey’s & David’s demonstrated commitments to transparency, inclusiveness, and empowerment.

Who You Are: The Entrepreneurs We Seek

This is part 3 of a 5-part series. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the first two posts here and here.

The more our portfolio grows, the more convinced we become that in the early stages of a company, the founders are most of the bet. We consider our portfolio an extension of our core values of transparency, collaboration, and community. So, when evaluating potential investment opportunities, we benchmark the founders against our existing portfolio entrepreneurs.

While there is no “one size fits all”, we’ve found certain commonalities in successful founders. Below are the core characteristics we search for:

The Dying Art of the Thank You Note

We must see at Laconia a few dozen pitches each week, and what continues to amaze me is the lack of relationship-building skills that so many entrepreneurs seem to have.

While growing up, my parents hammered into me the courteousness and importance of writing thank you notes. During the early days of my career, I was shown how to build a business relationship, and most importantly, how to maintain one. Thank you notes were a cornerstone of relationship maintenance. And this was all before there were emails and texts to make the process so damn fast and easy.

Entrepreneurs work so hard building businesses. They identify opportunities, draft business strategies, hire people, develop technology, raise capital and sell, sell and sell! Yet, through it all, they seem to treat relationship-building like a speed bump on the road to success. It seems most people today do not understand how a simple email can leave a door open for future opportunities that might not seem obvious at the time.

I tell my entrepreneurs, and my three children, to try and do the following as religiously as they can: