First Round Capital looked at 300 companies and 600 founders to try and establish what the perfect talent recipe was in its best performing portfolio companies. As the title suggests the findings challenged some early-stage investing precepts.
There were some deeply unsurprising findings (going to a great university helps; technology matters more in business-to-business than to consumer companies; a founder who has worked at Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple or Google is a plus). But it also came up with some data that upset a number of early-stage investing precepts. It found that the portfolio teams with at least one female founder outperformed all-male founding teams by more than 60 per cent, and that younger teams outperformed older groups. The wisdom that comes from experience did not pay from an investor point of view because the data showed repeat founders performed no better than first-time founders (mostly because initial valuations were higher). Gratifyingly for believers in collective wisdom, however, teams outperformed solo founders by a massive margin.