The website for venture capital firm Benchmark no longer lists its portfolio companies. In fact, it no longer lists much of anything beyond an office address and Twitter handle. Not even a phone number or partner names/bios. So minimalist that it makes the sparse Andreessen Horowitz website look like an encyclopedia.
Here is the explanation from Benchmark partner Matt Cohler, via Quora:
“Benchmark is a small, focused partnership which has always functioned like a guild of artisan craftspeople rather than like a corporation. We believe this is the best model for supporting the entrepreneurs and startups we back. We updated the Benchmark logo and website to better reflect these core beliefs and values. The entrepreneurs and startups we back are important players in their fields and our focus is on having their stories heard. If you’re looking for information about those entrepreneurs and startups you can always find it on our Twitter timeline and our Twitter lists, on Facebook, on Wikipedia, and on Quora.”
Now their twitter presence does provide some detail on the firm with lists of the full team, portfolio, EIRs, IPOs and what appear to be investment themes (mobile, local, games, SaaS, et.c). Still, for anyone unfamiliar with the firm or who hasn’t the time to spend researching the web for details, this approach says, “hey, if you don’t already know us then we’re not going to help you out.” Honestly, I’m not yet sure what I think about the strategy. In part, each partner is building their own brand, in their own sectors of interest and therefore engaging entrepreneurs through their own means (Fenton’s tweets and Gurley’s blogs are most effective at this). While I get the “we’re not corporate,” I still see a lost opportunity in communicating the cohesiveness of the firm – at some point you’re going to have to pitch to / meet at a full partner meeting. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to learn about the firm as a whole from their website, rather than a board room being the first time you see them all together? I’m very interested in your thoughts (particularly if you’re an entrepreneur).