M.G. Siegler is a General Partner at GV, which provides venture capital funding to bold new companies across the fields of life science, enterprise technology, consumer products and services, and frontier technology.
On having a desire to live by the success of others in VC
As a VC, a company’s success is your success. That’s easier for some than others to swallow.
“Coming from TechCrunch, I was covering so many different types of startups and writing about so many different types of companies that it was sort of a natural transition to move to the VC side where you have the same dynamic of watching a ton of things. Though in VC, you’re more actively participating. You're giving the company capital, and hopefully more than that at the end of the day, but you are more actively participating than writing a story about them. It's not something that I ever had an issue with moving to the venture side of things. It was more natural because, on the writing side, I had been living vicariously through these startups.”
On being an investor that’s in the founder’s corner
Knowing the value you provide can go a long way to supporting founders.
“Where I like to spend my time, and where I do think that I provide more value, is at the earlier stages. That's right in the sweet spot where I would ideally like to be involved with the company. I'm not involved as an employee of the company or someone who's a founder of the company, but I am at the call of these other very early-stage companies. Whenever they need me, I’m a text away or a Slack message away. I'm happy always to hop on, hash through some ideas, talk through anything, or help them with whatever may pop up.
That is easier to do at the earliest stages. It's also more required at the earlier stages because these companies have smaller teams, and it might be a founder’s first time starting a company. My decade of doing this has enough data points to help point them in the right directions. I like to operate where I think I provide the most value to entrepreneurs and the startups themselves.”
On the importance of communication and storytelling
Being a good communicator is necessary at every level for founders, which is a skill that Siegler has honed over his career.
“The narrative is a critical part of a company. It's not just a press release, an announcement of funding, or a statement of whatever the product is. It's a slew of things, including internal communications, communicating with investors, a pitch deck. The narrative is used to convey, in a succinct way, the story of the company and a future vision that an entrepreneur has for their company. Everyone sort of overlooks that part. They don't think about how vital it is to the day-to-day aspects of the company. Remaining on point about what it is that you do and what your reason is for existing.
Suppose a company, founder, or entrepreneur is unable to do that effectively. In that case, they're going to run into challenges not only talking to potential investors but talking to potential customers that they'll be signing up. People who hopefully will be using their products. If you can't convey what it is that you're doing, it's not going to translate well.”
On what makes a great investor
Never underestimate how powerful knowing your strengths can be.
“There are many types of investors. The thing that makes someone a great Investor over time is knowing, and ideally getting to as quickly as possible, the place where your lane is. For myself, it was recognizing that I'm better at this job at the earlier stages. That's where I enjoy working more, and I'm providing more value to the companies in those stages.
It's very hard to jump into this world and know exactly where you're going to be operating and where you should be operating. It takes years to do it. The faster, the better. What makes a great investor is someone who as quickly as possible recognizes their strengths and can narrow in on utilizing those strengths to invest in companies that can also leverage those strengths.”