Viewpoint / Company Building

Reflections on My Midas Journey

Recognition on lists is an honor but also an opportunity to reflect. Being named #4 on the Forbes Midas list marks my sixteenth appearance and my 4th in the top 5 since 2020. The list is a testament to the hard work of entrepreneurs building enduring companies, which, in turn, elevates their venture investor. Hat tip to Alex Konrad and the Forbes team for a great package.

When I think about the guiding principles that have allowed me to earn this place, three words come to mind:

Empathy: Only the bravest venture on the entrepreneurial journey, and as a three-time founder myself, I have great respect for their fortitude. That is why we have assembled a team with founder DNA at Mayfield, as we believe that empathy cannot be learned. That is also why we partner with founders at the ideation stage, as we have found that if we follow exceptional founders, they lead us to climb great hills. Here’s looking at you John Zimmer and Logan Green of Lyft, Manish Chandra and Tracy Sun of Poshmark, Armon Dadgar and Mitchell Hashimoto of HashiCorp, Guru Pangal of CloudSimple, Kumar Ramachandran of CLOUDGENIX INC., Manu Gulati of NUVIA Inc, Murli Thirumale Gou Rao, & Vinod Jayaraman of Portworx by Pure Storage, and Ankur Singla of Volterra, who have all had great exits over the last 5 years. And finally that is why we partner with founders for life, as it is a universal truth that company building is a marathon, not a sprint.

Focus: Venture capitalists have been accused of having a follower mentality as it’s easy to be swept up in a wave. As the leader of our firm, I jokingly tell new team members that FOMO is for sheep.  We developed our founding principles 55 years ago, and have followed our conviction through industry booms and busts. We focus on leading rational early stage rounds of financing, lend our company building expertise to founders, and guide them to financial outcomes that deliver outlier returns to our limited partners.

Hunger: Investors must match the zeal of the founder, and cannot simply call it in.  This means rapid immersion learning on paradigm shifts (here comes the nod to GenAI), having a beginner’s mind along with a prepared mind, and bringing a blue collar VC approach to working hard alongside founders. My anthem is “Eye of the Tiger” – and even after investing in 60+ companies including 18 IPOs and 27 M&As, I’m still inspired by the lyrics: It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight!

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