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My idle thoughts on tech startups

Why Entrepreneur Advisors Matter

Lee Hower
February 10, 2015 · 2  min.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the holiday season is behind us and 2015 is firmly underway, we wanted to take a moment to both announce and celebrate the collection of top entrepreneurs who have agreed to return as our Entrepreneur Advisors. These individuals have all graciously agreed​ to continue their prior commitments to NextView-backed startups and entrepreneurs.

We’re excited and feel incredibly lucky to have them back on board:

  • Niraj Shah & Steve Conine – Co-founders of Wayfair
  • David Cancel – Co-founder/CEO of Driftt (Co-founder/CEO of Performable at the time he first joined our group of advisors, after which he became HubSpot’s Chief Product Officer following and acquisition of Performable.)
  • Mike Baker – Co-Founder/CEO of DataXu
  • Brian Shin – Founder/CEO of Visible Measures
  • Stephano Kim – SVP & Chief Data Strategist of Turner (President of [x+1] at the time he first joined our group of advisors)

 

​The Purpose of Entrepreneur Advisors​

We frequently tell entrepreneurs that advisors who are just names on a page are kind of a waste of time. We believe the same is true for us here at NextView, which is why we think it’s important to take a second and explain what NextView’s own “Entrepreneur Advisors” do.

When Rob, David, and I started NextView nearly five years ago we thought it was important to enlist a small group of talented entrepreneurs as we built and helped our portfolio over time. These were all folks we’d known for a number of years, and people we respected deeply. Their expertise is focused across the range of software ​and​ internet sectors that we focus on here at NextView​ –​ from SaaS to e-commerce, ad-tech to mobile.

At their core all of ​the folks ​listed above ​are builders​ — the​y​ have all founded and run exceptional software and internet companies, in some cases multiple times. But we also believe in the ​”​keiretsu​”​ principle here at NextView. In parallel with their entrepreneur advisor role​s​ with us, many of these individuals are also active angel investors themselves independent of NextView​,​ or​ else they​ have relationships with other companies or investment groups. ​Thus, we can all work in concert within the broader startup ecosystem.

So if they’re not just names on a page, how are these entrepreneur advisors involved with us at NextView and our portfolio companies? Practically speaking they help us in three ways:

  1. New Investment Opportunities – These advisors sometimes introduce us to new entrepreneurs and new companies we might invest in​.​
  2. Insight During Our Due Diligence – We frequently touch base with these people when we are looking at a potential new investment where the advisor has unique insight. In some cases​,​ the advisors’ companies form business relationships with startups NextView is ​vetting​.
  3. Advice Post​-​Investment – All of these individuals are busy people with limited bandwidth, but they​’re generous enough to periodically ​provid​e​​ advice and mentorship to founders in the NextView portfolio.

We’re pleased that as NextView has grown, all of these original entrepreneur advisors have extended their relationship with us.

But ​… ​we plan to expand this group slightly with a handful of other high quality folks​ which we’re equally as excited to introduce publicly​. So keep an eye out in the coming weeks and months when we’ll talk more about these additions.​


Lee Hower
Partner
Lee is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has spent his entire career as an entrepreneur and investor in early-stage software and internet startups.