In New York City, altitude is attitude and the view from $100b+ fund’s office tower was certainly the equivalent of walking tall, shoulders back. I was visiting during a summer trip and catching up with a fellow investor, a few months into this market downturn. Especially having them involved with a handful of our portfolio companies I wanted to know, how would they be looking at follow-on opportunities — both offensively and defensively. He replied succinctly that they were very much still open for business but with a clear delineation: “we’re ok running an ICU but we’re not running a hospice.” To translate, an otherwise healthy startup who urgently needs care and is likely to be fine on the other side of the procedure will get their attention. But in a bridge to nowhere, the company shouldn’t expect to be sustained until its natural end of life. This seemed, well, perfectly reasonable.

When I say ‘universal truth,’ it’s not suggesting it applies to all businesses. There are lots of quality SMB/SMEs and startups which don’t take venture capital. There are also venture backed startups who just don’t have a path forward and would be better winding down, finding a home, or trying to get off the venture capital curve via a restructuring. But if you are planning on continuing to try and fulfill the founding ambition of the company, and qualify for future venture funding, you can’t stop thinking about growth.

“Default alive” is nice for knowing how long you can pay your rent but “default investable” means you know when and how you’re going to get more capital into the company. As a CEO, that’s where you start.

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