The Perfect Board
Last month Sam Altman wrote a post about board members and why you should want them. I read it and then tweeted it out:
— Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) November 11, 2014
In Sam’s post, he says:
Personally, I think the ideal board structure for most early-stage companies is a 5-member board with 2 founders, 2 investors, and one outsider. I think a 4-member board with 2 founders, 1 investor and 1 outsider is also good (in practice, the even number is almost never a problem).
I’ve been serving on boards for 25 years. I’ve been in every conceivable configuration. To my mind, the perfect board is either five or seven and it looks like this:
Founder CEO, Two Independents, Two Investors
Founder CEO, Three Independents, Three Investors
If the Founder is no longer the CEO, then I like this configuration:
CEO, Founder, Two Independents, Three Investors
If you have less than three investors (yay!), then replace investors with independents in each formula and you’ve got a winning configuration.
An entrepreneur the Gotham Gal is invested in asked me this question via email a few weeks ago, and I told him this:
This is a long way of saying that you aren’t done once you put one independent on the board. You are going to need a bunch.Finally – don’t try to satisfy your VCs. They will want “names” “trophies” and the like. Satisfy yourself. Find people, ideally peer CEOs, you like respect and want to spend time with who you know can and will add value.