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5 Questions on Entrepreneurs and Startups with Sharon Wienbar Scale Venture Partners

Recently, one of our partners, Greg Heibel, sat down with Sharon Wienbar from Scale Venture Partners for a no-frills conversation about investors and entrepreneurs. Aside from the fact that we now know Sharon would choose a beach over mountains any day of the year, she shared some really great nuggets of information about what exactly it is that investors think about when meeting with entrepreneurs or figuring out whether they want to place a bet on a particular kind of team. Here are some of the gold nuggets from the interview.

Greg: What is it that makes you take a meeting with an entrepreneur?

Sharon: Well, there’s a couple things, but the first is usually that the entrepreneur is operating in a market that we’re interested in. So it’s a place that I want to understand; I want to understand what he or she is doing. It can really help when the entrepreneur either has a background in the space or has been introduced by somebody we know, but I’m very unlikely to take a meeting with somebody who’s in a market that we’re just not going to invest in, because that would waste that person’s time.

Greg: What does it mean to be scaling?

Sharon: So, to be a scaling company means you’ve achieved the product market fit, which could sometimes take just a couple of months, sometimes a couple of years, to get the product right for what the market is looking for. [It also means that] you’ve found a sales channel that is working. And this is one of the things that we’re maniacal about is tense, right? It is working means this quarter you’re selling more than last quarter. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing tens of millions of dollars in revenue. We’ve invested in companies that have been in revenue, even three months. But, period on period the business is growing. You’ve found a way that is working to reach your customers and you want to raise capital to grow that dramatically.

Greg: When you’re looking at a company, what’s more important to you? The team or the technology?

For the rest of the interview, you can watch the interview below.