EP5: What Makes an Effective Board Member?

Having served on the Board of some of the most prominent Fortune 100 companies, Mr. Parsons sheds some light on what makes a good Board member.

When Mr. Parsons would recruit for boards, he looked for someone “available to reason.” Meaning someone who listens and evaluates a proposition and has a thoughtful course of action in response to the issue at hand.

 

 

Mr. Parsons also points out:

  1. Board members have to be collaborative as a concerted effort outperforms individual efforts when advising a company.
  2. The board is a CEOs only natural predator if you don’t have some kind of accommodation with them

Stay tuned for EP6.

 

 

 

EP5: What Makes an Effective Board Member?

EP4: Four Things

There are four main pitfalls entrepreneurs need to be wary of when launching a new venture. Here Brad highlights the four major pitfalls:

  1. Bad critical hire in the beginning
  2. Bad early investor
  3. Bad anchor client
  4. Running out of capital

 

 

For Dick, effective cash flow management is priority number one and hiring a bad early employee can stunt growth or completely jeopardize the company. He also reminds us of the importance of understanding the market you play in.

EP5 set to release next week.

EP4: Four Things

EP3: How Scout is Different

In today’s post, Richard Parsons outlines the key difference in Scout Venture’s approach to investing that sets Scout aside from its competitors: the ability to proactively coach companies through the ups and downs of the startup journey.

As Dick mentions, early-stage venture investors have to bring something extra to the table and Scout does just that with the ability to not only focus on entrepreneurs with drive / “moxie,” but also provide management guidance.

Stay tuned for E4 next week.

EP3: How Scout is Different

EP2: Building Over Time

In today’s post, we catch a glimpse of Richard Parson’s approach to building a company over time and taking the long-term perspective to build correctly.

Overview / Summary:

It takes time. Through an anecdote on the creation and utility of flat log rollers popularized in London, Dick emphasizes the importance of taking a long-term approach to building.

Stay tuned for next week’s post!

EP2: Building Over Time

EP1: Two Rules of Leadership

As a new series, every week, we will be releasing a video in which Brad Harrison, Scout Ventures – Managing Partner, interviews a long time mentor and industry expert, Richard Parsons.

Dick Parsons is a senior advisor of Providence Equity and former chairman of Citigroup. He is also the former chairman and CEO of Time Warner. Before joining Time Warner in 1995, Mr. Parsons was chairman and CEO of Dime Bancorp. Mr. Parsons has held various positions in state and federal government, serving as counsel to Nelson Rockefeller and as a senior White House aide under President Gerald Ford. Richard is currently a director of Estée Lauder Companies and Lazard, and is chairman of the Apollo Theatre Foundation. Most recently, Mr. Parsons served as the interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.

Here is the first video in which Dick talks about Leadership.

Here’s a recap if you didn’t watch the video:

  1. When put in a position of command, take charge.
  2. Do what is right.

Simple and to the point.

Stay tuned for next week’s video.

EP1: Two Rules of Leadership

Wes Blackwell joins Scout Ventures to invest in early-stage, veteran-led startups

This post was written by Anthony Ha (TechCrunch) and originally posted here

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We haven’t written much about Scout Ventures, but the New York City-based firm has built up a big portfolio over nearly a decade of investing, with exits like Olapic (acquired by Monotype for $130 million) and Kanvas (acquired by TechCrunch’s parent company AOL).

And, it’s done all of this with just one full-time partner, Bradley C. Harrison — until recently, when the firm brought on Wes Blackwell as partner.

Blackwell is an advisor to Washington, D.C. startup studio DataTribe and previously led enterprise implementation, account management and tech support at LiveSafe. And like Harrison (who graduated from West Point and served in the Army for five years), Blackwell is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, having spent more than a decade flying helicopters in the Navy.

“If you’d asked me five years ago if I would have partnered with an Annapolis Navy brat, the answer would have been an unequivocal no,” Harrison said. But he said that as he and Blackwell started spending more time together, he realized that their backgrounds were complementary: “It made all the sense in the world.”

And the Armed Forces background isn’t just another line in their bios — Harrison said that about half of the companies that Scout has invested in were founded by veterans.

“We don’t find a lot of competition in this stuff,” he explained. “It’s a pretty tight community.”

Scout typically writes initial checks of between $500,000 and $750,000 and aims to take a stake of around 10 percent. And while Harrison has been the only full-time partner until now, the firm has a team that also includes several venture partners and Principal Brendan Syron.

“Like any good investors, our thesis evolves over time,” Syron told me. He said the firm has become increasingly interested in frontier technology, with investments in its “core sectors” of AI, machine learning, autonomy and mobility, and “a big focus” on data and cybersecurity — an area where Blackwell has strong connections.

“Some of folks in this industry, by their nature, they’re not very trusting,” Blackwell said. “So by virtue of Brad and I’s background and character, there’s a trust factor there.”

Blackwell has already made his first investment as part of Scout, leading a $1.5 million round in DeepSig, a startup working to improve wireless technology by applying deep learning to radio signal data.

Wes Blackwell joins Scout Ventures to invest in early-stage, veteran-led startups