Venture capital

What should I know before becoming an EIR?

John Pettitt Visionary multi platform engineering executive and technology entrepreneur

September 19th, 2014

I'm considering possible EIR opportunities as part of "what do I do next".  I'm not sure if I'll go that route or just take a CTO/VPE gig.  

I've read a few articles on being an Entrepreneur in Residence and I'm aware of some of the downsides (being tied to one fund, difficulty raising $ if the fund you're an EIR at passes) and I see plusses, particularly learning the finance side of the business from the other side of the fence and getting a better sense of how funding decisions are made along with the extended networking opportunity.  

So if you've been an EIR I'd love to hear from you - what do you wish you'd known going in? anything specifically to watch out for? What surprised you? What didn't live up to expectations?

Phil Strazzulla

September 20th, 2014

John - I worked as a junior VC so that's my perspective.

On the plus - you can an insane flow of information about what's happening in the tech arena before it hits TechCrunch (or for the 90% of startups outside of the valley).  I think this can really help you find the next big opportunity.  You also get some more insight into fundraising, although with your background you'll never have trouble raising money.

On the negative - I've seen some EIRs get as cautious as the VCs they work with.  This usually means you constantly over analyze your next opportunity, and might spend a few years on the sidelines.

Good luck!

Tom Patterson CEO and Founder at New Company

September 23rd, 2014

Hi John,

You have a great background so I am sure you are getting lots of invitations and deciding what to do next is challenging because of the choices. :)   I think the value of an EIR gig will be contextual based on what you want to achieve.  I took an EIR gig about 10 years ago and the purpose was for me to build a network, find a cofounder and accelerate funding to start my company.  I think that things have changed a bit now with new funding mechanisms and the prevelance of social media(linkedin,quora, founderdating,etc.) which lets us network exponentially faster.

Firms have very different EIR programs too and how involved you get int the partnership/finance side varies quite a lot.  I think you will definitely learn something about how venture works if you do take a position but i would clafiry that upfront. 

I also think its better if you take these positions because you have a thesis of what you want to be working on and you are looking to improve the idea and find partner, customers via the EIR platform

There are great firms and great people out there that will become friends/partners you will have for life if you invest in it wisely so all EIR's are not created equal.   

Happy to get on a call or grab coffee if you'd like to chat.  It looks like you'd be someone great to work with. 


Cecilia Domenighini Marketing

September 22nd, 2014

Never been an entrepreneur in house, but I guess it would be very exciting and bring a lot of resources. Everyone has different experiences and this topic is not new. Many entrepreneurs shared their story on Quora. Another very interesting point of view is shared by Zack Urlocker on Gigaom. I'd recommend you to read them and I hope the different stories will help you put the different pieces together. 

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

September 23rd, 2014

The two things I've heard (granted have not gone the EIR route) that aren't necessarily obvious: 1. It's pretty lonely - yes, you get brought into meetings and get to the "other side" but as far as coming up with or working on ideas - no one is doing that with you. of course, this can always be true but sometimes the perception is that the firm is actively involved. 2. There is a clock and signaling - as previously mentioned if you don't come up with something you don't stay indefinitely and if you do and they don't invest some worry what that signals to other investors.