Venture capital · Startups

How often should a startup board of directors meet?

Maria Garnier Operations Coordinator en Socialatom Group

September 26th, 2016

This will be for a Series A startup that just finished closing a financing round with top tier VC investors.
A great idea is 1% of the work. Execution is the other 99%. In this course, we’ll teach you how to conduct market analysis, create an MVP and pivot (if needed), launch your business, survey customers, iterate your product/service based on feedback, and gain traction quickly.

Alf Poor Chief Operating Officer at Global Data Sentinel

September 26th, 2016

First off, it's a good discipline to establish the company's bylaws, in accordance with the state of incorporation (or whatever structure you elected), and annotate the schedule for board meetings in those bylaws. It's not as scary as it sounds, you can find a good framework online from legal service providers or through any decent start-up attorney. If you are very early-stage, with no frequent updates, 6 monthly may be enough, if you're growing quickly, re-organizing the business, pivoting product, have sophisticated investors like VCs, etc. you would typically want to schedule them quarterly. Remember to take minutes of board meetings, sign and file them - you'd be surprised how often this comes up in investor due diligence and can lead to them imposing additional board members on you and your management team if they feel adult supervision is required. Important to note, that if you have shareholders you'll be required by law to have at least an annual meeting for those shareholders, to cover board member elections, general state of the business, etc. and you're required to record minutes for those also. Lastly, you can always call an extraordinary meeting at any time, if a critical issue or decision comes up, and provided you give reasonable notice and justification for calling the meeting to the board members (48hrs would be courteous, I've seen 24).

Jim Jordan Investor / Board Member at Sparx Hockey

September 26th, 2016

Having been associated with over 100 VC & PE backed business's, very few meet monthly.  Every other month for FORMAL board meetings is more common, but regular communication between the CEO and individual board members is a must.  There is an “art” to managing and communicating with your board and as a very successful CEO once told me…. Your board should never be surprised by something at a board meeting.


Arthur Lipper Chairman of British Far East Holdings Ltd.

September 26th, 2016

The VCs will likely determine the composition and scheduled meetings of the Board. To answer your question you must first define your definition of the purpose of the Board. Is it advice, window dressing and simply a group whose main purpose is to decide when you are to be replaced?

Gary Belford Board of Directors Recruiting

September 26th, 2016

It depends on the needs of the entity.  Typically seasoned boards meet 6 - 8 times a year. Emergency or critical issue sessions may add to that.  

Newly formed boards typically have fewer members, resulting in directors having multiple roles and heavier workloads and responsibilities. This may increase the # of meetings as well. 

I would plan on 8 - 10 in your first year and expect you may have a few more.  

It is worth mentioning that with the efficiencies of "virtual meetings" using Go To Meeting or Skype etc, board meetings need not be burdensome to arrange or incur costs in terms of travel lodging, etc.

Tom DiClemente Management Consulting | Interim CEO/COO | Coach

September 26th, 2016

Monthly.

Rod Abbamonte Co Founder at STARTREK / @startupHunter / @startupWay / @CoFounderFound / @GOcapital / @startupClub / @lastminute

September 26th, 2016

Monthly but will depend of board and investor's decision.

Alf Poor Chief Operating Officer at Global Data Sentinel

September 26th, 2016

Agreed - never seen monthly work well over long period of time, though it can be useful for the first 2-3 meetings. In my experience, there's just not enough going on to formally meet that frequently, not to mention the time and energy in preparing for a board meeting. Use your regular day-to-day channels of communication for everything else.

Laura Oliphant Business Development and Venture Capital Professional

September 26th, 2016

1x month, alternate phone and in person.  More as needed...  Congrats on closing your round...

Neil Gordon Board Member, Corporate Finance Advisor and Strategy Consultant

September 26th, 2016

I agree with what others have said about monthly meetings. It's easy enough to adjust in either direction and it will become apparent if meetings need to be held more often or if they can be held less often. Consider also a briefing by phone in lieu of an interim meeting. Also, an executive committee, a subset of the board, that's authorized to act on matters that might arise between meetings.

Gary Belford Board of Directors Recruiting

September 26th, 2016

Good comments Jim.