The Firm

Fullstack Investors

by Dan Povitsky ( 4 min read )
Aug 01, 2023

Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you.

At our Team Offsite last week, we convened the Vine Ventures, L.P. team in Israel. We ran workshops together, met with our founders, and reflected on good & bad experiences in the portfolio over the past year. The aim was to learn how to handle situations that inevitably come up in early stage company building; and learn about each other so we can perform better together. Below are just a handful of those workshops covering topics like how to own a POV, share feedback, foster mutuality with founders, and communicate to the team.

Owning Your POV

If you’re a founder, it’s worthwhile to know your investors are sufficiently self-aware to see & correct their mistakes, celebrate collective wins, and better themselves. If you’re seeking more from the relationship you have with your VC and not getting it, it might be because nobody at their firms is reminding them (by teaching, learning, doing) what they already know they should do.


  • If you are involved in a portfolio company, you are accountable for it.

  • Know the milestones that matter to our founders and the success of their business (and on what timeline). Have a view on what needs to happen next. 
    • Hires: Which relationships and/or skill-sets are missing from the team to accomplish the above? 
    • Funding: What will Vine need to see in order to re-invest? How will Series A investors evaluate the company?  
    • Exits: Know who the potential buyers are. Know at what point this becomes a necessary conversation to have. Understand options: acquihires, etc.

  • Be intellectually curious and develop a POV for what works in different categories. 
    • Be a productive investor. Don’t be dominant in the last year and irrelevant in the next. Which categories are you comfortable investing in? Which are you trying to become more suitable for?

  • Build relationships with other investors on the cap table. If you have multiple avenues of information coming to you, then you develop an enhanced understanding.
Fostering Mutuality & Good Habits
  • As much as possible, work towards a relationship where true feelings and facts are exchanged about the team’s outlook and how the business is performing.

  • In the first 180 days of investment, form a cadence (usually monthly or biweekly) for your partnership. Enjoy your time together. 
    • Be a confidant, never a spy. i.e., Information from founders is conveyed to you and Vine alone. Under no circumstances should you share personal details or company-specific conversations outside of Vine. 
    • Do not seek to ask all of the questions, own speaking time, or instruct founders. Listen. Test assumptions you do not agree with. Best way is to ask, “Why?”
Sharing Feedback
  • Observe and ask how founders are feeling. 
    • Acknowledge when things are hard. Celebrate the victories together.

  • Give feedback early & honestly. 
    • Allow for time to learn.Throwing time at goals is one way to make up for inherent lack of experience. 
    • People appreciate honesty and candor with concrete examples and action.
    • Recognize if you are a conflict avoider, or are uncomfortable saying what needs to be said (either softening too much or not giving feedback at all). 
      • Use a helpful sentence: “I’m rooting for you, but based on what I’ve seen… This is what needed to happen, but didn’t. Here’s what could produce that outcome…”  
    • Realize that feedback is a gift. Most people don’t want to be sucker-punched. 
    • Identify repeating patterns in behavior that may not be fitting well into a larger situation. Address these as a necessary bridge to learning how to do things right. 
      • If an action or a statement strikes you as a red flag, speak up.

  • Keep the team energized, especially when everyone is exhausted! 
    • The tougher the situation, the more important it is to set a calm example. 
    • Do not let long hours or other issues drive your behavior around a team doing their utmost.

  • If you’re trying to enact change and not delivering, ask yourself ‘Why.’ 
    • Is this person an open system or a closed system?

  • This is empowering, but scary. You do your best and live with the consequences. 
Communicating at Team Vine
  • Communicate in realities.
    • It is encouraged to present facts/observations as well as gut feelings and instinct reactions. We want to know how you feel about a decision.
  • Don’t be afraid to share; and share in a timely manner. 
    • When you are engaged, you grasp your own reality so clearly that it is tempting to assume everyone sees it in the same light. Do not assume. Time spent sharing the situation with the team is rarely wasted.

  • Have a strong bias for action.
    • If you haven’t had time to share (i.e., on the daily sync), follow-up. It is encouraged to call Eric and Dan directly; to call each other directly. 
    • Reply to messages in a timely manner: “Confirmed and I’m looking into this.”

  • Honesty is all we have.