How This Lux Capital GP Went From The Obama Administration To Google To Investor—Plus, The Prime Three Traits Founders Ought to Look For In Traders

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How This Lux Capital GP Went From The Obama Administration To Google To Investor—Plus, The Top 3 Characteristics Founders Should Look For In Investors


Just a few weeks in the past, Lux Capital Companion Deena Shakir discovered herself exhibiting a preschool class learn how to flip seed funding right into a unicorn. This may increasingly appear unattainable (in any case, children this age may not even perceive the idea of cash but), nevertheless it was profession day at her kids’s preschool, and he or she needed to share what she does.

So, she taught them the facility of science and innovation with kids’s e book Ada Twist, Scientist and supplied every little one chia seeds. She then sat with them as they cultivated their “seed funding” right into a unicorn-shaped chia pet that will finally blossom. 

Eleven years in the past, Shakir by no means imagined she’d be speaking about enterprise capital at profession day. She’d simply delivered the speech “From Baghdad to Boston: Dropping the World H-Bomb” at her Harvard commencement, began grad college at Georgetown, and was working a lot of aspect hustles to completely fund her diploma. Over the subsequent decade, she held a number of several types of roles.

She was a reporter for BBC and an Aga Khan Fellow at The Aspen Institute. She led public-private partnerships for USAID and was a Presidential Administration Fellow in Secretary Clinton’s workplace on the State Division. Google recruited her to guide partnerships for rising merchandise, which she did for 5 years. And earlier than becoming a member of Lux in August, she spent two years as a associate at GV (previously Google Ventures).

Shakir has hit the bottom operating at Lux. Final month, she introduced her first Lux funding in meals tech startup Shiru and has since made one other funding. She will be able to confidently say there’s nothing else she’d slightly be doing then enterprise investing. And he or she really believes her nontraditional profession path, particularly spending a lot time as an operator constructing partnerships throughout sectors, is a crucial asset to the founders and CEOs she invests in.

Beneath, Shakir explains how being an operator and connector throughout industries for over 10 years affords tailwinds for her present function. Plus, the highest three abilities she believes founders ought to search for when evaluating a VC.

The Benefits of Having an Operator Background

Shakir’s working expertise sparked her ardour within the product world. At Google, she developed partnerships for early-stage merchandise in a spread of industries—healthcare, retail, {hardware}, AI, and an entire lot extra.

This partnership expertise additionally supplied her with a large and deep community. It was her job to determine who the best-in-class gamers had been in every area, to have interaction them on behalf of Google, and to get their assist launching the product. In the present day, these are the exact same contacts she mobilizes for deal movement, diligence, potential govt hires, go-to-market, and extra.

Being an operator for over a decade supplied her expertise constructing, negotiating, and shutting offers throughout sectors, an extremely precious ability set for a VC.

Three Traits Founders Ought to Search for in a VC

Whereas Shakir believes that there are a wide selection of abilities and qualities that may make you efficient as an investor, there are three phenotypes that stick out to her that founders ought to search when selecting a VC to associate with: the networker, the nearer, and the coach. Right here’s why. 

1. The Networker. A profitable VC should have the ability to develop and preserve genuine relationships with folks. It helps with sourcing new offers, deal movement, company and enterprise improvement relationships, fundraising, you title it. Who you understand, realizing what to ask and who to ask, and connecting the dots is a magical ability. A VC who will community in your behalf  will add immeasurable worth to your organization.

2. The Nearer. Pitching isn’t only for startups today. For probably the most aggressive offers, it’s the VCs who must do the pitching. It’s one factor to get a seat on the desk, however you additionally want to have the ability to shut the deal. As a VC, you’re at all times closing: on behalf of your portfolio corporations (to company clients, companions, and future buyers), to LPs, and, after all, to the businesses who provides you with the chance to spend money on them. Display for this high quality as you’ll for a CRO in your crew.

3. The Coach. Shakir strongly cautions in opposition to underestimating the human aspect of the job. Being an early stage investor is about greater than crunching numbers. A very good investor should have the ability to successfully learn a room, to teach her CEOs by way of attempting occasions, to guage the emotional state and motivations of founding groups, and to belief her intestine. Constructing trusting relationships is finest carried out by way of being actual, genuine, and refreshingly clear—all qualities to hunt in an investor.



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