9 Lessons from Bill Trenchard (Partner @ First Round Capital)

Bill Trenchard (@btrenchard) is a partner at First Round Capital based in NYC.


He is a fundraising savant, and his advice and guidance have given First Round companies an unfair advantage. At the time of writing, First Round portfolio companies have raised $18 billion in follow-on capital.ย 


Here are some of our favorite takeaways from Bill and his career so far.


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Bill Trenchard (Partner @ First Round Capital)

Lessons from Bill Trenchard

  • Overlook short-term economic interests in favor of long-term relationships. Venture is a LONG game. If you get caught up chasing short-term swings, you won’t have many people to play long-term games with.
  • Look for founders who get a tremendous amount done in a short amount of time. Build a culture that embraces speed.
  • Reference check your investors, and mention why you are interested in working with them. The more selective you can be with your cap table, the better aligned you can be with your investor base.
  • When evaluating teams, look for fit to the problem. Oftentimes, the ideal founder is somebody that has personally experienced the problem themselves.
  • The best insights come from paying attention to the small things. If you want more wisdom, become more observant.
  • If you’re looking for extraordinary outcomes, it’s not enough to simply have the insight. You also have to view it, inspect it, through a different-colored lens. Doing what’s always been done is never the path to innovation.


"Donโ€™t trigger the bullshit meter. If the investor feels spun, you're done."

"As a founder, you should either be fundraising or not โ€” and if you are, it should be done with great intention."

"For anything you do more than three times, write down your process in detail. Build playbooks that you can hand off to someone else, so they can execute something exactly the way you would."

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