For venture capitalists, business is personal

BOULDER — “It’s not personal, it’s just business.”

Not so fast, Boulder area venture capitalists say. For them, business is personal.

“I’m looking for good investments, but I’m also looking for awesome people who I’d want to spend time with,” Techstars Boulder partner Nicole Glaros said during an investor panel discussion held Monday as part of Boulder Startup Week.

Venture-capital firms — especially those operating in the relatively small, tight-knit Boulder ecosystem — are looking to invest in entrepreneurs and companies with whom they click, who they think will be receptive to mentoring and input.

A “fun, coachable human” is more attractive to investors than an inflexible, robotic founder who is unwilling to challenge their own vision of the company, Jamie Finney, Western Colorado regional director of Startup Colorado, said.

Glaros compared the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs to a romantic relationship. As an investor, you want to be the first person a founder calls when they have good news to share and the first person they call when they’re in a jam.

“They will be with you through thick and thin — that’s awesome,” she said.

To emphasis this point, MergeLane co-founder Elizabeth Kraus noted that successful “investor-startup relationships last longer than the average marriage.”

In general, “Colorado’s venture and startup scene is thriving and is drawing national attention,” Foundry Group engagement manager Micah Mador said. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

One area such improvement area is diversity and inclusion. The Boulder startup scene is mostly dominated by males, specifically white males.

“It’s a real opportunity for us here,” Kirk Holland, managing director of Access Venture Partners, said of diversifying the startup ecosystem. He recalled an occasion where the area’s lack of cultural diversity was a dealbreaker for an African-American job candidate who Holland very much wanted to hire.

Panelists during Monday’s event also stressed the importance of bringing more women into the startup world, both from the entrepreneurial side and from the investor side.

“It’s a multidimensional challenge that we have to work on from a bunch of different angles,” Glaros said. “… We’ve taken steps in the right direction, but we still have a long way to walk.”

BOULDER — “It’s not personal, it’s just business.”

Not so fast, Boulder area venture capitalists say. For them, business is personal.

“I’m looking for good investments, but I’m also looking for awesome people who I’d want to spend time with,” Techstars Boulder partner Nicole Glaros said during an investor panel discussion held Monday as part of Boulder Startup Week.

Venture-capital firms — especially those operating in the relatively small, tight-knit Boulder ecosystem — are looking to invest in entrepreneurs and companies with whom they click, who they think will be receptive to mentoring and input.

A “fun, coachable human” is more attractive to investors than an inflexible, robotic founder who is unwilling to challenge their own vision of the company, Jamie Finney, Western Colorado regional director of Startup Colorado, said.

Glaros compared the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs to a romantic relationship. As an investor, you want to be the first person a founder calls when they have good news to share and the first person they call when they’re in a jam.

“They will be with you through thick and thin — that’s awesome,” she said.

To emphasis this point, MergeLane co-founder Elizabeth Kraus noted that successful “investor-startup relationships last longer than the average marriage.”

In general, “Colorado’s venture and startup scene is thriving and is drawing national attention,” Foundry Group engagement manager Micah Mador said. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

One area such improvement area is diversity and inclusion. The Boulder startup scene is mostly dominated by males, specifically white males.

“It’s a real…