STRATEGY

CEOs Are From Mars, VCs Are From Venus

It's official: They see everything differently.
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Everybody knows that entrepreneurs and venture capitalists think differently, but how do these opposing points of view clash when VCs and CEOs serve side by side on boards of directors? A survey of private companies backed by VCs, sponsored by the National Venture Capital Association and Dow Jones VentureOne, produced these findings.

27% of VCs say the CEO fights with the board.

VCs rate personality conflicts with the CEO as the single biggest boardroom distraction. One in 10 CEOs, meanwhile, report infighting among VCs from different firms.

65% of VCs say that complying with Sarbanes-Oxley is a big concern.

IPO-hungry venture capitalists are more agitated about SOX than are CEOs--only 40 percent of CEOs cited SOX compliance as a major concern.

64% of VCs say they worry about the timing of management transitions.

The news here is that most VCs are thinking about "transitioning" a firm's management. Failing to hit a financial target often precipitates a change.

75% of VCs exit a board within a year of an IPO.

This isn't a surprise to governance experts, but it may surprise the average CEO. Having achieved liquidity, most VCs drop their board duties soon after a company goes public.

73% of VCs use no specific metrics to rate a board's effectiveness.

The same is true of CEOs, 88 percent of whom say they don't look at empirical data to judge whether their board is making a useful contribution.

Last updated: Jul 1, 2006

DARREN DAHL

Darren Dahl is a contributing editor at Inc. Magazine, which he has written for since 2004. He also works as a collaborative writer and editor and has partnered with several high-profile authors. Dahl lives in Asheville, NC.




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