John Thornton - General Partner at Austin Ventures

John Thornton – General Partner at Austin Ventures

At my last company,, we had a number of rounds of venture capital before going public in 1999. Our primary Venture Capitalists were Austin Ventures, led by John Thornton. Over the years I’ve got to know John pretty well and appreciate his knowledge and sound business sense. He has always been generous with his time and advice to me.

However, I remember feeling disappointed when we first started in 1995 because he was not always as encouraging as I expected about our business. This can often be the case because a VC’s primary goal is to make investments and to get a good return. As an entrepreneur you are typically starting a company out of passion and a burning desire to create something. Of course you’d like to make money, but frequently this is not your primary goal.

As a result, when I started Digital Cheetah in 2001 the last thing I wanted to do was get any external financing. If you can afford to go alone, that is often the best strategy because you can create the company precisely the way you want. However, if you need the cash then remember VC’s are for funding first and just be grateful that they are willing to invest in you at all.