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Experience with Jim Mc Lean

Fund: 3i Corporation

Posted by MartyManley on 2007-11-28

PUBLIC:

Jim McLean has bounced around a bit in the venture world. He spent many years at Accel, was at Highland for awhile, was a senior guy at a Volpe, Brown, Whelan fund called Bedrock where he invested in my startup, formed his own fund briefly (Basis Ventures) and merged it with ComVentures before joining 3i. I don't know the circumstances of all of the moves, but I know a number of Jim's colleagues and they regard him, as do I, as a terrific guy to work with.

More than any of the several VC board members I have worked with, Jim works both the details and the big picture. He will not only be the guy who notices that the numbers in the footnote on page 4 don't quite tie to the ones in the graph on page 43, but he will reliably ask questions that you did not expect (most VCs are fairly predictable. They invest money hoping to get more back than they put in. They focus on helping make that happen. Sometimes they succeed -- often they dont).

Jim manages with analogies, which I like, but then we both have a bit of Irish DNA. Once when we were running out of money, I had to negotiate a bridge financing (tip: don't do this. Ever). Jim's memorable phrase, which I am sure he did not originate, was "I will do a bridge, Marty, but I won't do a pier".

Jim is not bashful about pushing a CEO or a team. He stands about 6'5" and wears about a size 14 shoe, so when it comes at your backside, you are likely to notice it.

Jim backed two other companies that I know well -- and both CEOs there share my high regard for Jim.

I have no experience with 3i. I pitched them once and struck out (a metaphor that should get me kicked out of any bar in Dublin), but raising money is a volume business -- most people you pitch decide to pass.

Acid test: would I pitch Jim McLean again" I might avoid venture capital, but if I need a few million bucks to grow and have a solid path to exit, I'd call him in a heartbeat.

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