Collaborating long-term with CEOs, leadership teams and investors to accelerate company growth and value

by Randall S. Hancock and George E. Pohle, Vention Growth Partners
July 10, 2017

Technology-enabled trends are disrupting markets, transforming business models, and shifting financial value in today’s Accelerating Business Environment. Working with privately-held growth companies over the past several years, we’ve recognized that CEOs, leadership teams and PE/VC investors need a new model for collaborating with senior advisors on a long-term basis. As a result, we recently launched Vention Growth Partners, a collaborative platform composed of senior advisors and board members focused on partnering long-term with companies and investors to accelerate growth and value.

Investors and growth companies face numerous challenges brought about by today’s fast-changing Accelerating Business Environment, including:

  • Challenged Portfolio Returns. As entry valuations skyrocket and as the cost of money increases, Private equity and venture capital investors are finding it more difficult to achieve target money-on-money returns, and the majority of portfolio companies generate subpar returns.
  • Complex Operating Challenges. Profitable growth and operational improvement have become even more important factors in achieving returns.  Gaps in management skills and experiences widen as companies grow and become more complex, creating challenges in diverse areas such as strategy, go-to-market, product and portfolio management, analytical capabilities, operational excellence, and financial reporting.
  • Limited Investor Time. Focused on investing rather than managing, investors typically have limited time and abilities to support the day-to-day activities of their portfolio companies. While some PE/VC investors have brought on operating partners or non-executive board members, their focus is generally on sharing industry knowledge and relationships, rather than partnering closely with management or acting as semi-executive board members.
  • Non-Aligned Consultants. While external consultants always remain an option, they are expensive and don’t have vested interest in the company’s success. Consultants focus on engagements rather than retainer-based relationships, resulting in high daily professional fees, significant learning curve costs, and no incentives linked to long-term growth and value.

To address these challenges, CEOs, leadership teams and investors need a new model to collaborate on an ongoing basis with senior advisors who bring significant strategic, operational and investing experience to help them make better decisions, improve execution, and accelerate progress.

Vention Growth Partners formalizes an ongoing relationship among senior executives who have worked together for more than two decades. We began our collaboration in the early 1990s at Gemini Consulting, where we helped technology, media and telecommunications clients develop and execute strategies in their converging industries. There we developed shared passion and capabilities working with companies to achieve transformational change and accelerated growth.

We continued working together in the late 1990s at Mainspring, a venture-backed Internet strategy consulting firm founded by John Connolly, that we helped to take public in 2000 and then sold to IBM in 2001. We continued working together as senior executives at IBM, before transitioning into CEO, founder, general manager and operating partner roles in other growth companies and investment firms. More recently our collaboration has continued as we focused on helping CEOs, leadership teams and boards of fast-growing privately-held companies successfully address the critical opportunities and challenges they face.

By working closely with growth companies, we’ve developed a comprehensive view of the critical growth challenges CEOs, leadership teams and investors face as they grow and evolve their businesses. Combining our own experiences and skills with the learnings from working with many growing companies, we have developed best practices, frameworks and tools across a wide variety of areas, including board and governance, vision and strategy, CEO and leadership team, go-to-market approach, delivery model, organization and culture, and financial management.

Why We Exist

Instead of reinventing the wheel, growth companies are best served by adopting and refining best practices to their particular situation across all of these areas.

In addition, we believe that growth companies and investors should actively seek out long-term senior advisors who not only complement their existing capabilities, in order to not only fill skill and experience gaps, but also to serve as catalysts helping them accelerate profitable growth. The best senior advisors exhibit these characteristics:

  • Collaborative. Emphasize ongoing collaboration between CEO, leadership, board, and other team members.
  • Iterative. Share, review and adjust findings to ensure alignment among multiple stakeholders on objectives that are achievable.
  • Transparent. Communicate objectives, project approach, progress and interim “stories” openly and frequently.
  • Objective. Provide third-party perspectives, challenge assumptions, and encourage different viewpoints.
  • Analytical. Use rigorous, fact-based quantitative and logical approaches to making assessments and developing recommendations.
  • Selective. Choose to work with the companies and teams with which they believe they can make the biggest difference.
  • Aligned. Prefer long-term relationships and equity compensation to make sure they align interests with those of leadership and investors.

If you’re a CEO, leadership team member, or investor in a privately-held growth company, we would be happy to share more about what we believe are the most successful practices today’s companies have adopted to accelerate their growth and value.


About Us. Randall S. Hancock and George E. Pohle are the co-founders and managing directors of Vention Growth Partners, a group of experienced board members and advisors focused on helping CEOs, senior leadership teams and boards accelerate growth and value.

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