Paul Desmarais III, Cofounder of Portag3 Ventures, says he looks for three qualities in the entrepreneurs his firm works with. Whether you’re picking a team to join, hiring for a team, or building one from scratch, these character traits are broadly applicable:
- They need to be able to attract talent (they have a sense of humility, they demonstrate an ability to listen, and they show a clear sense of curiosity – all of which draw others towards whatever they’re working on).
- They need to be able to attract capital (let’s broaden this to financial and social capital, which they raise by communicating effectively and showing a clear path to how a little help can take an idea a long way).
- They have to be focused on mission (Desmarais says they should be so excited they can’t sleep at night, but let’s expand this to a mix of vision, passion, and success seeking at more than just the financial level).
If we find ourselves in any lesser situation, we’ll have to figure out if there’s something we can change or if we should leave. VCs like Desmarais are reminders that the world is full of great ideas and great people. If we look, we will find them. If we find ourselves surrounded by people who can attract talent, attract financial and social capital, and we have a vision and mission to guide us, we will have found ourselves in very, very good company.