We held our Annual LP Meeting last Monday in Raleigh and I thought I'd write a little about it here. This year we held it at one of our portfolio companies, which works well because it is a great way to put the spotlight on the company and the space is free too! :)
Our LP meetings are always pretty simple where all of our partners have an active role and we put a heavy emphasis on our portfolio companies and most of the CEOs of our companies get up and talk about where they've been in the last 12 months and where they're heading. We encourage lots of questions and interaction with everyone.
Something stood out in Mike Doernberg's talk on ReverbNation and I thought I'd share it here. Given that this is Mike's 4th company, it was really a lesson he was sharing with everyone in the room no matter what business they might be in. It went something this...
I'm sure everyone has seen the movie Forest Gump, right? Well, remember he bought a shrimp boat, but he couldn't catch any shrimp? Then along came that awful storm which he battled and both he and his boat ended up ok. Meanwhile, all the other shrimp boats in the region were completely destroyed. So, Forest was left with all his competition out of action and with that brought in tons of shrimp!
A good lesson for everyone in this economy.
Overall, I think our LPs felt really good about our companies and liked how transparent everyone was. Quick observations:
Revenue continues to grow at all but one of our companies, but at a slower pace that we have been used to.
Companies are well managed and expenses are really under control. For the seed stage companies in our portfolio, burns are sub 200k. For the companies with meaningful revenue, there is a greater focus on getting to profitability. And we're fortunate that we now have several companies that continue to stay very profitable. With the greater emphasis on expense control, we're now seeing some of our companies "trade up" for talent, rather than hire that extra person.
I think the other thing beyond existing portfolio companies that was good was that we continue to be active in the region. We continue to look to focus on the same industries, in the same geographies we promised.