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Voyager Capital and Erik Benson

Fund: Voyager Capital

Posted by mktgmann on 2008-01-27

PUBLIC:

NOTE FOR ENTREPRENEURS: Voyager prefers A & B round companies in business software, online advertising and telecom, preferably with at least $1M in revenue and at least half the exec team. You must preferably be based somewhere between the Bay Area and Seattle. Notable exceptions were Ontela (pre-revenue) and us (in San Diego), but 80% of their investments are in the above category.

DISCLAIMER: I have known Erik Benson 10 years, so it was no surprise that I pitched him and his firm.

Still: they did full due diligence and were tough but fair. I don't get treated any differently than any other Voyager CEO.

The best thing about Voyager that makes them particularly helpful once they have invested is that they know who they are. Not as glam as KPCB or some of the other bay area firms, but very hardworking. They really focus on their 3 principles: go to market strategies, high performance teams, and exit readiness.

For go-to-market, they secured Tom Kippola (author of the Chasm series) to help us with our strategies. For high performance teams, they secured Keith Krach (founder of Ariba) and Nofsinger Strayer (executive coaches) to help us with team building. For exit-readiness, the entire partnership helped with raising my B round.

The other notable thing about Voyager that I don't hear from other entrepreneurs is that the entire Voyager partnership is involved with us. Even though its only Benson on our Board, every one of the Voyager partners has their strengths and has helped us one way or another:
Curtis is incredibly well connected, especially in the Bay Area, and has helped bring us a lot of sales and partner opportunities.
Bill is more the financial type, and always has good operating comments and thoughts.
Enrique is the thoughtful product guy, and had great ideas for product strategy.
Tom Kippola has been highly active in helping us with marketing strategy.
And of course Erik Benson talks not just to me, but to my exec team and sales staff at least once a week, providing ideas, leads, coaching, etc.

Overall, one year after the initial funding, we have found Voyager to be incredibly high value-add on a tactical and strategic basis. They were also instrumental in helping us raise our B round, and I was highly pleased that they went for more than their pro-rata in the round, with a big show of support.

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