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They Genuinely Tried to Help

Fund: El Dorado Ventures

Posted by Entrepreneer on 2008-03-17

PUBLIC:

Shanda led our A round in late 2005. I was a cofounder, and I had reservations about raising so much capital given how little time we'd spent exploring the space. My cofounder said that ours was a play that all VCs would soon make a bet in, and it was better to choose our dance partners early. As a dance partner, El Dorado offered real help. Introductions to important players in the space, an emphasis on measurement, and peer sessions, where the CTOs or CEOs from their portfolio companies would come together to discuss topical issues. All of this was clearly valuable, and offered something far better than I'd received from prior boards, where you were lucky to get the investor to come to a board meeting once a quarter.

In the end, we failed. The market we were anticipating has not yet developed, and we used the capital too quickly. Shanda remained engaged the entire time. She never became desperate. She's level-headed, and a bit of a hard ass; which is just what we needed sometimes.

When something fails, there's lots of places to spread the blame, and someone more bitter than I could probably smear El Dorado, but I think the real failure rests with the CEO and me. Nonetheless, there is some intangible that I cannot place that makes me reserved about seeking El Dorado as a partner again. Perhaps it is just that having failed with them, I'd rather go with someone with a good reputation with whom I have no failures.

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