Mike Abbott, General Partner at Kleiner Perkins has advised and invested in numerous software companies throughout his career, including Cloudera, Hearsay Labs, Jawbone, Reverb Technologies, Toytalk and Locu. Prior to his success at Kleiner Perkins, Abbott held the position of vice president of engineering for Twitter. He grew the engineering team from 80 to more than 350 engineers in less than a year and a half, scaling Twitter’s architecture to support hundreds of millions of daily tweets.
He believes entrepreneur relationships are at the core to his success as an investor at Kleiner Perkins. Fundamentally, “this is the partner you are selecting to go into battle with.” And “there should be a natural process between investor and entrepreneur to get to know each other, and obviously keeping it as efficient as possible.”
As an entrepreneur, during any early stage investment, it is important to trust the team. Their role is to identify feedback from its consumers or customers and iterate it back into the product. “Its an unlikely case that the first one [product] is going to be the perfect one.” The key to building strategic entrepreneur relationships is to try to stay as authentic as you can.
Taking on the right partner is imperative to the growth of any business. The right partner will be there for support during the difficult challenges, “No great company grows in a linear fashion. You hear of people who go back and apply revision as history as if it was a straight line.” Abbott relies on the time to build entrepreneur relationships and to get to know each other, whether it be entrepreneur to investor, or investor to entrepreneur, because, “you can’t fire your investor!”