While Nikhil Kalghatgi might be ‘spitting term sheets like they’re going out of style’ on a daily basis, he stopped by for an incredibly candid, fun, and humbling dinner.
Nikhil is a NYC venture capitalist at Softbank Capital (portfolio ranges from Associated Content to Zynga). The venture capital world is notorious for being a ‘learn by doing’ structured industry that encourages mentor/mentee relationships. Nikhil shared a few tips and tricks from the VC world with us:
What’s a salary to a startup – can you please remind me?
Upon entering the startup world, Nikhil asked to be paid exclusively in intros and deal flow – the currency of the startup world. He understood the value of one hundred introductions a month and was aware of the potential of human relationships.
Don’t become somebody that I used to know.
If you’re not sending 50+ emails a day, you’re doing something wrong. You must value relationships over everything else. Nikhil claims that he still sucks at it, but is constantly reaching out to friends to keep relationships warm. It’s never worth writing someone off. He personally guarantees a response to EVERY email as stated on his blog (omg.vc).
I’ll bring my friends, you bring your friends, and we can all be friends.
Actively review your network, group connections, and record details (kids’ names, birthdays, pets, etc.). There is no single address book to rule them all – Nikhil uses Google docs like a fiend as well as apps such as Brewster and Contactually to manage his connections. He ranks relationships on a scale of 1-5 to know where people stand. Share your network to grow it and add value. Take workcations with friends and become better friends.
Rolling in the deep.
Invest in people > statistics. Every venture fund breaks their rules/investment thesis for something that’s really sexy. Nikhil stated the importance of delivering on your promises – if you commit to a company; you need to carry out the deal.
The tech world lives and dies by whispers, not bangs.
It’s easy to spend money but hard to make money in venture capital. Companies are bought, not sold. Venture capital highlights Nikhil’s strengths (trust-building, honesty) and hides his weaknesses (being somewhat ADD). Clear communication is integral to solid relationships and good decision-making. The venture capital business is all about trust. Honesty is the best policy.
Go play a video game.
Have fun. After a dinner full of sharing stories, lessons on VC’s, managing relationships, family, and Indian accents, we challenged Nikhil to a game of N64 Super Smash Brothers with $100 on the line. He won and dropped the controller on his way out. Like a boss.