If you’ve been following along with the show, you’ll have learned what the investor-founder dynamic is like from the viewpoint of an entrepreneur. In the last episode, I sat down with the CEO and Co-Founder of StyleSeat, Melody McCloskey, to understand what it takes to raise capital at the various stages of a startup, from Seed to Series A and beyond.
In today’s episode, we’re going to get the opposite perspective by diving into an investor’s mindset. We’ll try to understand what compels them to write a check and, more importantly, how they add value beyond a check.
(That’s right, they’re not just a source of capital; they can be an indispensable partner!)
I’ve invited Shruti Gandhi to chat with us. Shruti is the Founding and Managing Partner at Array VC, a fund that invests in early stage startups. She began her career as software engineer. Since then, she has been a startup founder and an investor in five funds; now, she has started her own.
Having been in many roles, Shruti understands the importance of capital, but she also knows firsthand that founders need help beyond the check.
During our conversation, you’ll learn:
What I found most refreshing about this episode is how Shruti shares learnings from both successful and “failed” experiences. The failures have taught her the importance of investors who are helpful to founders in a variety of functions.
This willingness and ability to help is something we should all be looking for in the people we choose to partner with!
So if you’re an early employee at a startup or a founder, watch this episode and learn how to scout the investors who are going to add value to your company beyond the check.
After you’ve watched the video, let us know what your favorite part was in the blog comments.
Stay tuned for the next episode of FemgineerTV in November. I’ll be hosting Danielle Morrill, the Co-Founder and CEO of Mattermark. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know when it’s out!
Poornima Vijayashanker: Welcome to the 9th episode of Femgineer TV, brought to you by Pivotal Tracker. I’m your host, Poornima Vijayashanker, the founder of Femgineer. Femgineer is an education company where we teach innovators how to build software products so they can find freedom in their careers, enrich other people’s lives, and make the tech community a lot more inclusive and flexible. In the last episode, we had met with Melody McCloskey, the CEO and co-founder of Style Seat. We got the backstory to how Melody has raised nearly $40 million for her startup. In today’s episode, we’re going to explore the opposite perspective, and really dig into the mindset of an investor to help you viewers out there to understand what it takes to get capital for your startup.
To give us some perspective into how investors think, I’ve invited Shruthi Gandhi, the managing director of Array VC. Shruthi has been a software engineer, a startup founder, and of course now an investor.
Thanks for joining us today, Shruthi.
Shruthi Ghandi: Thanks for having me.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, it’s great to have you on the show today, and I know you’ve worn many hats through your career, so I want to just start by going back in time to the beginning and asking you, what got you interested in tech to begin with?
Shruthi Ghandi: You know I wrote my first program in BASIC, 6th or 7th grade in India, and the code created music and as a girl I got really excited about that, so I started exploring that over the years. I was just playing video games, Atari and Nintendo, and then I taught myself how to code between college and high school. That’s when I really got into it. I got a summer job at a university in New York, and everything that I did was challenging, was very logical, because I loved writing code and now I’m here.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, and so when you were a software engineer, I know you filed a lot of patents, you’ve worked at some big companies. What were some of the themes of the products or projects that you worked on?
Shruthi Ghandi: You know I was always early in technology that is popular now, at that time I was working on—the early 2000s, for example, I was working on location-based services, voiceover IP products, instant messaging, so some of the Lotus same-time code has come out of some of the work I’ve done at IBM. So very early on, all this is before Google Maps, and before FourSquare, before Google Voice. So that’s, that’s some of the things that got me started early on in my career. The patents have been all in the space that I’ve been working on. My master’s thesis was also analyzing user behavior in instant messaging platforms. This is before we were talking about big data in 2007.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Nice, and how do you think that it’s changed over time since you were working on it? Do you feel like the technology has evolved or do you feel like it’s built upon some of your ideas?
Shruthi Ghandi: So you know, in the tech world, the underlying concepts are the same, but over the years the names keep changing. For example, location-based services was something I was working on in early 2000, and we detected location based on IP Mac router, but now Google does it much better. So I would say that tech evolves and now because of skill ability, more and more people use this technology and we get better over time.
Poornima Vijayashanker: And you eventually transitioned from being a software engineer to a startup founder. Let’s talk about that transition. What motivated you to go from being an engineer to being an entrepreneur?
Shruthi Ghandi: I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My dad’s an entrepreneur, and I over the years knew that I wanted to do something, but I just knew that I wanted to get a lot of core skill sets in accounting, marketing, you know. And on top of being an engineer. So that’s what I went to school for over time, but I left IBM to start a company…before I left IBM I was working in the chairman’s office there for Sam Palmisano, there we were working on a lot of macro ideas, how do we get access to fresh water, what does a new enterprise look like, security and all sorts of amazing macro topics. But as I started to explore those, I realized that I wanted to build something bigger as well and my engineering skills were not enough. That’s when I said, “OK, let me start a company, but at the same time let me go to business school to get all these skill sets,” and I think they both happened in parallel for me.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Got it, and what was the idea around your startup?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, it was…again it was very early. This was 2009 when I knew that we—Dunbar’s Number was a big thing where we are not going to be able to keep up with more than 150 people at a given time. So the idea was to how do you stay in touch with the thousands of friends we were going to have on our social networks over the years. And how do you meaningfully connect with each person at the right time when you’re working on something relevant to them? And that was the company, it was called Pencieve, based on Harry Potter.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Nice, yeah. And what was the outcome of that company?
Shruthi Ghandi: Unfortunately I worked on it for a while, we had a really good product, I took it through the new enter challenge competition at business school, Booth, but just to admit it I failed, I couldn’t raise any money for the company, and it was because the investors at the time didn’t believe that I had a proper business model around the company. So that’s when over the time I pushed at it and then I had to give up because of some team dynamics shifts. So that’s when my transition to VC happened, and you know I failed and I said I’m a very curious person, so I wanted to figure out why I failed.
Poornima Vijayashanker: And so you decided to then pursue being an investor?
Shruthi Ghandi: Exactly.
Poornima Vijayashanker: How did you get started in investment?
Shruthi Ghandi: It was during a time, it was toward the end of my business school timeframe and Booth is really good at getting you all the tools to make this transition happen. So I started interning at a firm in Chicago called I2A. It was through one of the classes at business school and that was a very short stint, I think it’s called Chicago Ventures now, that fund, but between my first and second year in business school, I also interned here at a fund called High Bar. They invest into stress startups and it’s a lot of the Sun founders and they originally came on to start that fund. So that’s when I truly got involved and I learned a lot about venture, more about the financing world that happens in venture and I—one of the companies I helped them invest in got acquired by Brooking, which was a mutual networking company. It’s called Viata.
Poornima Vijayashanker: And how do you think being an engineer and an entrepreneur helped prepare you for being an investor?
Shruthi Ghandi: Engineer definitely. That was a virtual networking company, I reached out to all my contacts that I could at IBM, all the other companies I knew just to understand if this tech was good. I personally could understand all the lingo, I could connect with the founders, and as a founder again same pattern. I could talk to them about their tech, their journey, and my own journey so it was pretty relatable on both ends.
Poornima Vijayashanker: You went on to manage your first fund through a VC, so which VC was that and how did you get started?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah so, Samsung was putting together a fund, a $100 million fund—
Poornima Vijayashanker: Wow, that’s a big responsibility!
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, so I was one of the early people that helped it going and I got some amazing experience there. It’s a corporate VC as some people call it as some people call it, and you know there are other corporate VCs out there like Google, Intel, but Samsung was different in a way where they invested in companies with a collaboration plan. So that was awesome because now I got to understand a lot about businesses and different businesses. You know Samsung does everything—hardware, software, components, many of the other things, so I went on to just understand more about the technology and what was needed there and then ended up investing in four companies.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Wow, and as you were getting that fund off the ground, what do you think were some important takeaways for you that you were glad you experienced there rather than going off and starting your fund to begin with?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, I think the biggest thing I learned there was just be helpful. I think as an investor, we often get involved in our companies and then lose track of who needs the most attention, what boards are we on, how do we scale ourselves, cause it’s a services business. And I learned early on to be able to handle that really well, so I often call myself the 2am investor—if you’re up at 2am and you need someone to chat with, feel free to Gchat me or text me or…that doesn’t happen that often and it’s more of the in culture, I don’t know if you remember that just hang out as an engineer on AIM. But that was the idea: look you’re not alone in this journey and that’s what I did at Samsung. So those entrepreneurs that I interacted with at the time, including the ones I didn’t interact with, are involved with me in some shape or form even to this day.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Oh, that’s great. So it was a great way to start building relationships early on and then continue to build upon them as you’re developing your own firm now.
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Awesome, and from there you went on to True Ventures, so what was the difference from going from corporate to early stage, seed—
Shruthi Ghandi: So the stage has always been the same for me. I love helping founders early on, from when they start with their ideas to helping them get to their product market fit. At True…the difference was we didn’t have a collaboration plan, so deals happened sometimes when I would find out about them and some days the term sheet was already signed in a couple days. So that was different…at Samsung it took a bit longer, so there’s pluses and minuses for both but the speed is definitely a big shift in how things get done. An institution versus a corporate VC.
Poornima Vijayashanker: I see. And for entrepreneurs out there, what should they be thinking about in terms of—since you’ve worn both hats, the corporate versus institutional—what are some key things that you are looking for at Samsung as a corporate VC, that you may or may not have looked at at True as an institutional?
Shruthi Ghandi: So corporate VC is a great tool and an investor, if you know: one, the corporate VC is not going to change the course of your company; and the second, it’s good if there’s no signaling that creates…so if you’re taking money from someone like Samsung and if, for whatever reason, there is no collaboration plan for your company with Samsung, then the next round of investors are going to wonder, what did this money do? And why did you take this money? It often is and isn’t that case, but that’s just how outsiders look at that. At Samsung we spent a really good amount of time, a lot of time working with many business units trying to figure out, hey, where would this product fit in best? And only after that synergy was explored we would then go and invest in a company. That often is a long process so it can drag on for a while, so that’s when you say, “Oh, you know, corporates don’t come in fast, but that’s what they’re doing in the back,” and then hopefully once you invest, all that foundation work is done and now you’re just talking about maybe how you execute that plan.
So that’s the biggest difference with the corporate VC versus an institutional which is a partner, couple of partners, depending on the process, you end up investing in that company.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, and when you were at True, what were some of the key areas that you focused on adding value for the founders?
Shruthi Ghandi: So True has a lot of good programs on, you know, that they already have. But I often tried to again, keep my old investor pattern where not only it doesn’t end when you put the money in, but you actually then continue to help the founder, which is what I continue to do to this day now, which is actually what made me start this fund.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, so what are some areas that you help founders?
Shruthi Ghandi: So it starts out from, “Hey, this is a good idea, and help me vet it,” so I constantly am talking to founders, friends, engineering friends who are like, “Ah, I think this is cool,” and then I tell them do A,B,C here are some tips, sometimes I have these templates I even follow with my friends I’m like, “Do this, and then let’s talk again after you’ve done so and so exercises.”
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, so what’s an example of a template you give people.
Shruthi Ghandi: You know basically it starts out like do market research, find out your market size, find your audience, I mean those are some very preliminary things. Is this a need, or is it just something that you have a problem with? One of my learnings from a really good marketing professor was, “You know, you are a part of”…she didn’t use the 1%, but she said, “You are a weird bunch of group. When you start something, don’t just ask your peers. Go out ask the people outside your bubble on if this is a valid problem,” and you know it stuck with me. It was more of a CPG class—
Poornima Vijayashanker: Consumer Product Goods?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, class and that concept but it stuck with me and to this day when I’m thinking of something, we often talk about the Silicon Valley Bubble and all that and all the companies that are coming up with just particular target markets, but who knows where they go? But over time that’s one of the lenses I look at and I ask the founders to explore that if they want to be a big global company.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah and what else. I mean you got multiple templates so do you got anything else to add to that?
Shruthi Ghandi: Well, that’s a good beginning then once they have that, I also then ask them to build the product, even if it’s been a reliable product MVP, but I go then the first thing after they know what they want to build is, I actually go ask them to get customers. So that’s the biggest shift that what I provide in my fund as well and I’ll talk about it in a second, but I say, “Go talk to people that will use your product,” and I’m more focused on enterprise, it’s easier to go talk to the Googles and the Facebooks and the Twitters or anywhere your friends are that might want to use your product at these companies. But basically I say, “Go talk to your customers and see what their pain point really is. Is this a pain point? Is this product going to be loved and shared like the consumers in the consumer world do?” So that’s the other lense I add on top of that and I put them on that task. That usually takes a good six months.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, definitely.
So now you’ve started Array VC, congratulations, it must be great to have your own fund. So let’s start there, what inspired you to strike out and start your own fund?
Shruthi Ghandi: I always wanted to do that once I started becoming part of the venture world and for me I wasn’t clear when, I just knew it will happen. Through the journey in the corporate world, I had already been also interning at a few other funds out of Chicago and here like Bank was one of them. So over time, I’d been a part of five funds and…
Poornima Vijayashanker: Oh wow, that’s a lot.
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, so I’d seen it all and I think for me it was now figuring out as an engineer should I go back into the operating world and get more skills in the operating world, or should I continue to do something that I love? And I decided to do both and starting a fund is like starting a company, a lot of founders don’t realize that investors are also out and about raising money, they’re also doing the same things they are, just in a very different…just a little bit differently. So that’s what I wanted to start out this fund with.
The other things I noticed in all these experiences, you asked me earlier. How do I help out the companies after I put the money in and I realized that there is bigger funds out there doing that, but not many smaller funds that do that to this day. We call that the “Value at VC.” So I wanted to come and do that from day one. I didn’t just want to be the 2am call, but I also wanted to say, “Hey look, by the way, here’s some other people you should talk to. By the way here’s some of the companies that would like to use your product,” which is the sole, I guess, purpose of this fund that I started. The way I structured it is I help companies get in touch with customers from day one. And I have a network of over 200 people that have pretty senior executives from a lot of the companies that you know here and outside of the valley who are willing to help the companies from day one, and that’s what I’m trying to start and differentiate based on.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Got it, so you’re essentially bringing them customers that can test their products and their ideas on which is always a hard challenge for a first-time founder or even a serial entrepreneur to get that initial traction going.
So do you have an investment thesis and if you do, what is it?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, so, investment thesis is bottom-up economy in enterprise.
Poornima Vijayashanker: OK, what does that mean?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, so, in our regular world we use applications like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and whatnot, and then we go to work and we have to use some very antiquated technology right? That’s when I came up with the term called “agitated workforce.” It’s people who then go to work like us, and then say “I don’t like Outlook, I’m going to go try Mailbox, Handle, whatever I want to try out. By the way on top of that I’m going to use my credit card to pay with it,” and these may not be the perfect example of what I’m talking about, but the companies that do take advantage of this trend are Slack, Neurolake, Gammer, Box, Gab, all those. So that’s the fund, the fund is people who can use their credit cards to make that purchase and then tell their friends about it bring virality in an enterprise. This did not exist before, and, you know, realize the investments I’ve made as an investor in my previous firms were all focused, had this bend and that got me excited so I decided to start a fund with this thesis.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Cool, so it’s really empowering employees to be the consumers, but the product itself is more of a B2B focus, so helping businesses.
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, so this does not take away the enterprise sale that the companies have to make, but it accelerates it. When the CTO/CIO finds out that the entire organization, or big percent of it, is using Dropbox or Box, then they have to find out a way to make it compliant, get recurring billing and voicing, and so forth. And that’s when even if that means they have to pay more they go do it. And that’s a key shift that’s happened in enterprise over the last couple of years that’s going to just grow more and more over the years.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Nice, and for yourself when you’re evaluating companies, I’m assuming they have to be 100% on thesis, but what are some other things that you’re looking at in terms of either founder’s background, traction—how do you go about evaluating them?
Shruthi Ghandi: So just to kind of add a little bit more to the thesis, people often think that this is relevant only to the Twitters and the Facebooks of the world, but actually one of my companies that…I saw this trend early on and it was in education. So teachers loved the product and it was a company called Engrade. There was so much loyalty and the school districts ended up buying the product and paying for it. That company is now acquired by McGraw-Hill. So that was one of the trends. I saw similar trend in health where doctors love a product and then hospitals end up purchasing that. And so this is repeatable behavior in many verticals. So just I guess to add—
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, it’s not just tech.
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, I do invest in different verticals that take advantage of this behavior.
So I’m also a sucker for women entrepreneurs. Them and immigrants have a similar pattern of working hard, making sure they take the buck as far as they can. So that’s, as an engineer and a founder myself, I feel that I want to make sure I do whatever I can for that group of founders, but generally any hard-working founder who has some really far-fetched vision that’s deep tech. I love machine learning, security, productivity tools. So any of those areas I will definitely look at the company and if I can’t invest I will definitely help them with intros or give them my feedback. The other thing I look for is if you have not gone out of your way to get your product customers, even if it’s not paid but just proof-of-concepts, then I’m not sure that you’re really serious about the company as a founder, so if you don’t have access I’ll help you get access to certain companies and that’s where you can consider me as your ally there. And then hopefully over time you build something meaningful and we can have a conversation for investment.
But most of the companies that I invest in have at the very least done their homework on the need product market fit, per se, they don’t know if it is yet but they have done their homework on it and they go talk to customers, they have a few proof-of-concepts, some have even paid customers, but for my portfolio companies I actually help them figure out their pricing, so that’s the natural next step that I’m involved in. Recruiting for sure but helping them figure out the reach of their product, how do you price them, and then when they start getting a good MMR going I help them—
Poornima Vijayashanker: Monthly Recurring Revenue?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah. I help them with their pitch decks, getting in touch with a lot of investors I invest with and people in the network. So it goes from there on to helping them raise their next round.
Poornima Vijayashanker: So that’s not a very typical VC job. I know a lot of people feel like, “Wow, investor, it must be so glamorous, you must be like jet setting.” But you make it seem like you’re an entrepreneur, you’re doing calls at 2am, you’re helping people with pricing. What’s a typical day look like for you whether you’re talking to a portfolio company or you’re evaluating a deal?
Shruthi Ghandi: A typical day, it can go anywhere from talking to at least 2 to 3 companies a day, often in person if not over the phone, or then talking to some of my own investors. The final results is structured around the network of people that sign up and are willing to help my companies from day one, often a lot of them are my investors. There are people from all the companies—
Poornima Vijayashanker: That’s great.
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, so they…the minute I see something awesome, they are my first calls, I’m like, “Hey, here is something what do you think?” And if it’s relevant they also get connected to each other so founders love that they’re getting the value of the money I haven’t even put in front even before I do that. So my days look like that and then often times it’s just catching up with other investors in similar stage of what I invest in or following stages because I love to hear what some of my friends at bigger firms look at so that gives me more of the framework to help my companies accordingly and then connect them together when the time is right. So it’s juggling between many of those things and I’m also putting together events, often with corporates. Just to make sure I have all the right staff people involved and all the right vertical experts involved, all the right machine-learning experts involved. When the time is right, I make all that intros and connections from my portfolio companies.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, so it’s pretty deep relationship building. Let’s explore the opposite. You’ve talked about what it takes for you to make an investment—what are some things that you see either founders do or just they way their companies are structured that you would immediately disqualify them or just feel like they’re not meeting your criteria?
Shruthi Ghandi: It’s very straightforward, when you have a very good forward focus thesis, it’s often easier to say, “Look, I’m not going to invest in maybe like a photo app or something that’s just more consumer.” But I do offer that and often if they still want my time, I’ll figure out a way to be helpful. I do have a team of people that help me out in the fund as well, so that helps. The other thing is stage, I have toyed and done a lot of work on companies in much later stages and then backed out a little bit because I just realized I like to be very hands on and if I cannot do that at that time when there are other investors, maybe a larger fund you know, on Sand Hill. Then if the founder doesn’t need me, then I probably will not want to put the dollar it, I don’t like to the a passive investor.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Got it.
Shruthi Ghandi: So those are the two big things for me.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, and what’s too early for you?
Shruthi Ghandi: You know too early as I said before, just not doing your homework. I mean I’ve had some very strong entrepreneurs but exits again and companies we admire, but then they go and start a company in an area that they don’t know anything about so we…I still expect them to have done their work and same goes on with all the other…in other companies. I will tell them what kind of work they should do, but again if it’s clear…This is a pet peeve of mine just by the way I feel like there’s a lot of fat entrepreneurs out there today just…
Poornima Vijayashanker: Not physically?
Shruthi Ghandi: No.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Mentally.
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah mentally, good looking. They just, you know money is easy to get right now and there’s a lot of people who…I just had two calls yesterday, “Yeah, I don’t want to work for anyone” is the line or, “I think I have something it’s really cool,” but they don’t do their homework on like who else has been doing it, why is it a need, and to me that scenario of like, I think it’s great, but I think you’d be better off being at a company, learning and getting technical skills for a while, before you go off and do this. So that’s when I feel like that’s not too early, but I just don’t see the commitment from the founder. If things…if shit hits the fan. Sorry, pardon my language, I know they’d be out.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, I think that’s a fair assessment. I know I coach a lot of people and one of the first questions I ask them is, “Is this an interest or a commitment?” And if it’s an interest, then go join another startup. I mean that’s what I did at my first startup, it’s not like I would have thought to have start a company or had the wherewithal, so being an early employee is just as valuable or sometimes even better because it’s a little bit less stress, not 100%, but a little less, you learn a lot, and then you can transition to being a founder and taking on the full responsibility and really committing to your idea, your company, your investors, your customers. I think a lot of people forget that they need to think about this as a commitment, not like, “Oh, OK, I’m gonna like give this a shot for a year and if everything goes awry I can just back out.”
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, you’re right pretty much. I think the other thing that these people can also learn is skill. I think that that’s a big challenge that’s also underestimated. If you can talk comfortably about how I brought this company from a million revenue to 10 to 100 or the company grew from 50 to 300 under them, or they were part of a team and they saw that happening. That’s valuable experience, you’re not going to get that again in your lifetime as an opportunity so take it, go learn something. I think that’s where…yeah you hit the nail on the head.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Thank you.
So how big is your portfolio today, in terms of companies?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, I have made about three investments so far, and a following investment already in one of the companies. We make about 10 more investments this year so I have to be really busy.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Do you mind sharing what your check size is? Does it vary?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, no not at all. It varies, I like to be under 250k, so that’s my check size usually.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Great, and you’re usually, like you said before, coming in at a seed stage so usually seed but you do reserve some capital for a follow on investment and a series A to B?
Shruthi Ghandi: Yeah, so actually seed, whatever you want to call it, post seed, depends if I can get a meaningful amount of company for the money I’m putting in. And then I do reserve money for follow ons. I also work with other investors who I bring to the table as well if I think it’s an area that they would be good at as well, so I like to invest with a few friends.
Poornima Vijayashanker: So for our viewers out there who are thinking about getting introductions to investors like you. What are one to two initial steps that you should do before having that intro or before requesting that intro?
Shruthi Ghandi: Do question actually, you know 500…I talked about this recently, I think last week, was exactly that. It was…I can email everyone that whole page because we recorded it but it was basically just do your homework. Just like entrepreneur maybe not a good fit for the VC, the VC not be a good fit for the entrepreneur as well and oftentimes when you’re raising money you forget that, you would want money from anyone it feels like at that time. But if it’s not a right fit then investor is not going to be able to help you. And if you need help you’re basically on your own at that time and even $2 million you raise or whatever you raise in the first round, the money’s not going to be the block…what’s going to keep you up is like how do I access these customers? How do I hire this other person that I want and that’s when you really want a good network of investors to help you out.
So I would say do your homework, and then when you do find a good fit, check their portfolio to see if there’s a competitor. Do not go and waste your time again talking to investors who invested in your competitors. And then once all that is OK and you really still like an investor, follow them on Twitter, learn more about them, find warm connections to them. I have a whole thing I’d write on what warm connections mean as well but regardless I will talk to any founder even in cold emails…I’ve had people reach out to me and say I like your article I agree with your point of view, will you look at my company? And I do.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Oh, that’s nice of you, yeah.
Shruthi Ghandi: So yeah, it’s follow me on Twitter, or LinkedIn, and I’m pretty responsive.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Awesome, well we’ll be sure to include Array VC, and you can follow Shruthi @Shruthi on Twitter. We’ll make sure to include the links in this video.
So when you’re not helping companies and raising capital, what do you do for fun?
Shruthi Ghandi: I like board games.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah? What’s your favorite?
Shruthi Ghandi: My family and friends have planned Monopoly Deal. It’s…
Poornima Vijayashanker: Makes sense!
Shruthi Ghandi: It’s not Monopoly, it’s Monopoly Deal, it’s a card game, doesn’t last for that long, and it can get very strategic, and you can explore people’s minds. Me with my brother. I torture him. But I love board games and I often have board game nights and I love to cook as well so I mix that together.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Wonderful yeah. I love this new game called Innovation, have you heard of Innovation?
Shruthi Ghandi: No.
Poornima Vijayashanker: It goes throughout history, and it starts with pre-history and it’s essentially, screw your opponents and try to score the most, but it’s really fascinating to see how technology changes over time so you’ll be in one part of history where they just invented mathematics, there’ll be another part where they’ve just invented databases, but your whole goal is to get achievements as you move through history, get more points, and try to get everybody else to lose but that’s one of my favorite new card games.
Shruthi Ghandi: Well, we’ll have to play that.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah we should, we should definitely play that.
Shruthi Ghandi: Cool.
Poornima Vijayashanker: Awesome, well, thank you so much Shruthi for being on the show today.
Shruthi Ghandi: You’re welcome, yeah, thanks for having me.
Poornima Vijayashanker: You’re welcome. And thank you to all of you viewers for joining us today as well, and of course to our sponsor Pivotal Tracker, who helped us in producing this episode of Femgineer TV. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode of Femgineer TV, then please share it with your teammates, your friends, and of course, your boss. And let me know in the comments below, what was your favorite part about this episode. Subscribe to Femgineer’s YouTube Channel to receive the next episode of Femgineer TV where I’ll be hosting the CEO and co-founder of Mattermark, Danielle Morrill. Thanks for tuning in today and I’m looking forward to reading your comments.
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