Insights from VC Talent Teams
The role of Talent Partners in the venture capital (VC) industry has taken on a new dimension in the face of the recent economic downturn. Founders are now relying on the Talent team for support. From being a trusted advisor to serving as a psychologist, the Talent team’s role has become increasingly important in providing a human touch during these uncertain times.
In this article, we’ll explore how Talent Partners are evolving their support strategies during a downturn, the different structures of Talent Teams within VCs, and how internal dynamics are being navigated during these trying times.
Supporting Founders during a Downturn
VC Talent Partners are being called upon to provide more than just data and trends. They must also bring an optimistic, human touch to the table, and encourage upskilling and reskilling among their portfolio companies. They are also challenging founders to continuously evolve, as the fast-paced market demands.
With performance becoming a key focus for many founders, Talent Teams are engaging in more conversations around effective resource management. The emphasis has shifted from growing teams to running them, and measuring performance is now a priority.
Structuring Talent Teams within VCs
Network-based recruiting has become a priority for founders, and Talent Teams are stepping up to help. As one VC Talent Partner puts it, “Getting support from the venture side can make a huge difference in terms of getting responses, connecting with people, and attracting top-tier candidates.”
VC Talent Teams are often tasked with showcasing portfolio companies to potential candidates, but their structure and other responsibilities can vary widely. For example, larger funds have bifurcated their Talent Teams into early-stage and growth-stage groups. Early-stage teams work closely with portfolio companies, providing guidance on how to find top talent in a crowded market while conserving resources. Growth-stage teams place a heavy emphasis on customer success, focusing on renewing, expanding, and retaining customers.
Talent Teams are structured differently at smaller funds. Some focus on product and engineering, while others are more generalist in nature, offering support across various verticals. Typically, there is a larger requirement for external support for smaller funds to manage their portfolio’s demands without a large, in-house team. Metrics vary, with some funds tracking NPS performance, diversity, and offer rejection rates, while others are experimenting with new approaches to measuring their impact on founders.
Navigating Internal Dynamics during a Downturn
As the economic outlook remains uncertain, Talent Teams are mindful of the finding right team size, and making sure they have the resources to adapt to changing circumstances. Some funds are taking a leaner approach, while others are expanding their teams to accommodate the increased demand for help with HR within their portfolio companies.
The focus during a downturn is on delivering maximum value to both founders and investors. To achieve this, Talent Teams are being encouraged to follow the same advice they offer to portfolio companies: implement internal best practices and maintain open lines of communication with partners.
The role of Talent Teams in the VC industry is more important than ever, as founders look to these teams for support and guidance during a downturn. From network-based recruiting to upskilling and reskilling, Talent Teams are playing a vital role in helping portfolio companies navigate the challenges of the current economic climate. By adapting their support strategies, Talent Teams are helping to ensure the success of their portfolio companies and the industry as a whole.