Last week, we sat down with venture capitalist Brian O’Malley of Accel Partners to talk about where he’s shopping now.
We also asked O’Malley — who was recruited into Accel from Battery Partners in 2013 — what it was like to transition between the heavyweight firms, and what he views as the biggest differences between them.
More from that candid chat follows. Our conversation has been edited lightly for length.
Founders sometimes feel “orphaned” when a cherished VC board member leaves to start his or her own fund or, in rarer cases, is recruited into a new firm. What happened to your portfolio companies when you changed firms?
The simplest way to look at [these transitions] is that with the money comes the board seat, and the money is from the firm, not from Brian. So at the end of the day, it’s the firm’s call about whether you stay or go.
Sameer [Gandhi], who recruited me in, had [been recruited into Accel from Sequoia Partners back in 2008] and gone through a similar process, so I think there was a general attitude of: “Look, your entrepreneur relationships are the one thing you take with you, and your reputation is all you have, so let’s err on the side of doing right by the teams you’ve backed.” The thinking was, “If it takes these startups a year to get things figured out, that’s okay. At the end of the day, they chose Battery to work with you, and it’s kind of not fair [to abruptly end those ties].”
What did Battery think?