Why VCs Should First be Entrepreneurs, and Why Entrepreneurs Should Stay Away From Venture Investing

Nataly Kogan 

I’ve been an entrepreneur for a far shorter time than I was a venture investor. But I already know that I should have arranged these two phases of my career in reverse. I would have been a much better venture investor if I started and ran my own company first and I would have an easier time starting my own company without my venture capital experience.

I think few people would argue with the first part: If you know what it takes to get a company off the ground you are better qualified to give advice to others about how to do it. After all, that is the ever-emphasized added value of venture investors who lure entrepreneurs with “smart money” and “significant operating experience” that can help a small company grow. I spent five years in venture and the only venture guys (yes, 99 percent were, in fact, guys) who could actually back up this fancy talk with action had been entrepreneurs at one point in their careers.

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