Last week we held our third Turbo Talks event for CEOs of the companies that we have funded. Claremont Creek hosts a couple of these events each year for our portfolio company CEOs to network with and learn from each other.
Typically we focus each event around a theme and we gathered for dinner at the Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco to discuss “Hiring and Building Great Startup Teams”. To kick off a conversation we posed two scenarios. One dealt with a newly funded “Series A” company which would be hiring across many functions in a competitive market. The second was a startup–several years into its business– managing issues of growth and trying to retain great performers who are often substantially vested in their equity. It's tremendous to experience the quality of conversation and ideas that emerge when you get a talented and diverse group together. The CEOs in attendance quickly got into a discussion about what characteristics to look for in candidates, how company culture factors into hiring, and when (or even whether) to consider paying a premium for certain candidates. Everyone in the room recognized elements from his own experience and the discussion quickly took off with CEOS sharing specific examples of what they had seen work well, or sometimes not so well.
What emerged was a spirited debate and a great deal of fun. We certainly enjoyed it and hope all of the CEOs who joined us did as well. In fact, we'd love to bring everyone together even more frequently, but that's just difficult to do when you confront the practical realities of twenty startup CEOs each with overbooked calendars. However, we recognize it is “lonely at the top”. Hopefully events like this offer a chance for these entrepreneurs to take just a brief step back from running their companies to enjoy connecting with their peers. Check out a few photos below of everyone gathering before dinner.
Claremont Creek's April 2011 Turbo Talk Event