Why we won’t tell you who led an Eniac deal

by Hadley Harris and Anthony Ha

Photo: Luciana Golcman

Yes, we know there’s something a little mysterious — or even frustrating — about the Eniac website: You can learn about our team and our investments, but you won’t see a list of who led which deal, or all the boards each partner sits on.

This isn’t an oversight, and we’re not doing it to be secretive. Instead, it’s a key piece of the Eniac strategy, one that our partners put in place when the firm was founded in 2010.

It’s not just a matter of how we communicate our deals publicly. Everyone on the investment team votes on every deal, and our compensation is tied to the full portfolio.

We realize this sets us apart from most VC firms — and we think that’s a good thing. Why do we do it? Because we reject the siloed approach that’s so prevalent in the industry, where one partner at each firm takes full ownership of each investment, for better or worse.

At Eniac, we try to provide our founders with four partners (and a full team) for the price of one. We believe this benefits every startup in the portfolio, with each Eniac team member feeling invested (literally and figuratively) in all of our companies.

There are potential downsides, of course. No one at Eniac gets to build their whole reputation on a single deal — and yes, it might keep us off some of those best VC lists.

More significantly, a company that’s everyone’s responsibility could end up feeling like it’s no one’s responsibility. That’s why, when we invest, we still assign one partner as the point person, and they also sit on the board when we take a seat. But they won’t hesitate to pull in other team members when their expertise or network would be useful.

Over the years, we’ve worked to adapt the system as we’ve seen what works, and as the marketplace changes. One of the biggest recent shifts: We’re giving each partner more discretion to make investments based on their own conviction, even if the rest of the team isn’t as enthusiastic. But we still solicit feedback from everyone, and partners always have the option to veto.

Our hope is to combine the best of the individualistic and team-based approaches, and we expect to continue refining this process for as long as Eniac exists. If you’re an early-stage founder and this sounds appealing to you, pitch us!

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Eniac Ventures

We lead seed rounds in bold founders who use code to create transformational companies.