Innovative products are important, but the people who run a company are the real key to success, according to Alan Patricof, founder and managing director of Greycroft.
Patricof, a legendary tech investor, shared his advice for other investors in a conversation with Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment. Over his long career as a venture capitalist, Patricof said there’s one crucial lesson that he has learned from his failures.
“If you have a product without a leader, without that charisma at the top, without a founder who's driven, it's a lot harder to move around. And you know, truthfully, I personally prefer that we can be in companies where the founder is the person you stick with and you build around, as opposed to someone who comes in after the fact,” Patricof said.
Patricof argued that unlike products, people can change. They can pivot and improvise when things go wrong, and there is no passion to match that of a founder’s.
“When you have to change founders, or you're backing a deal where the person isn't necessarily the founder but has taken over from something else before, that founder passion is a hard thing to replace.”
When asked if leadership is as important as the company and the core strategy itself, Patricoff responded, “I think it’s more important. The people are the key.”
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.
More from Heidi: