Relationships to hack a venture deal
Jay Srinivasan, the CEO of Spoke, is a repeat entrepreneur who’d worked with Gunderson Dettmer on his first company which he sold to Google in 2014. Jay and his co-founders envisioned Spoke as a beautifully designed, easy to use help desk that could answer questions from anyone in an organization using AI-powered, real-time knowledge management with incredible speed. He turned to Gunderson Dettmer for Spoke’s launch because he wanted experienced counsel that could be a legal helpdesk for starting a company.
Jay began quietly looking for investors while he was still building his team and identified targets before Spoke was even incorporated. Jay found what seemed like a perfect fit right away, but was concerned that the dream VC might not be patient while he structured the company.
Jay turned to Ivan Gaviria, a Gunderson corporate partner, to form Spoke and to help manage the fundraising simultaneously. Ivan, who had extensive, trusted personal relationships in the venture community, was able to work with the investors behind the scenes and reassure them that all the critical deal elements would be in place in time to get a deal done.
According to Jay, “Ivan has a holistic view of the ecosystem that’s invaluable. He knows everyone. He knows the players and how things work. I was not in a situation to conduct a visible search for funding. He was able to smooth the process with my lead investor because the fund’s general counsel had been an associate at Gunderson and had worked closely with Ivan. As a result, paperwork was simplified, cycles were saved, and the deal got done without drama.”
When you need to raise venture money quickly, there’s no substitute for experience and reputation.
“When you need to raise venture money quickly, there’s no substitute for experience and reputation.”