Founders, I’m with you on this one. Solidifying the Founder/Investor relationship is hard and I get excited about wanting to immediately see your new company’s logo on our website or mentioned the news. I get fired up about seeing a big name on another firm’s website. I recently asked Michael about the topic relative to our new portfolio companies we have yet to list on our website, our personal side investments, and investments made on the secondary market (or those outside the scope and focus of our Funds). This sparked a discussion which I’m sure was at the core of his writing last January, and we felt we needed to be a bit more specific here.
Over a year ago Michael wrote a blog post entitled Bee Partners Pledge: List Every Company. The signature line was as follows:
“Bee Partners will show every company that it ever invests in on its portfolio page, both past and present”
Bee Partners focuses its capital on the earliest stages of venture creation. We are very clear where in the continuum we invest and to whom we give our time and energy. When we onboard a new company at this early stage, we always discuss the content and timing of any public releases with the Founder(s); this is an early strategic moment and an opportunity to build momentum around the NewCo’s brand. Sometimes, our earliest companies are simply not ready to be disclosed to others and we respect the Founders’ wishes to hold off on an announcement (note that we didn’t actually list Tradesy immediately, respecting the Founder’s wishes to hold off). Once announced, we have a responsibility to continually update and evangelize the company’s successes.
We can list TubeMogul and Tradesy because we were there at the beginning, taking wins and losses in stride alongside the Founders. We have earned the right to proudly list our investments. We can’t justify listing shares we bought on secondary markets just to put a logo on the page. It’s just not fair and we haven’t earned that right. Listing investments made much later into big name brands is dilutive to our Bee brand, potentially unethical, and is an injustice to our Founders working tirelessly at the genesis stage. No detriment to the Founders of these big name companies, but rather the opposite. We haven’t earned that right.
We love our companies and their teams. We have the utmost respect for how hard entrepreneurship is. This is not about us….it’s about them. As such, we revise our pledge:
“Bee Partners will show every company that it ever invests in on its portfolio page, both past and present. We will tag when we were the first investor and list the inception of the investment.”