20VC Why Every CEO's Goal Should Be To Be The Laziest CEO, The Benefits of Being Both Founder and Investor At The Same Time & Why Every CEO Should Try A CEO Coach with Bart Lorang, Founder & CEO @ Full Contact



In this episode of the 20 minutes VC, host Harry Stebbings interviews Bart Lorang, CEO of Full Contact and Managing Director at V1 VC, delving into Bart's journey from a lifelong entrepreneur to founding Full Contact, a contact management platform that has raised over $45 million. They explore the unique insights Bart gains from being both a founder and an investor, emphasizing the importance of emotional vulnerability and empathy in entrepreneurship. Bart shares his personal growth philosophy, advocating for CEOs to invest in self-development, and discusses Full Contact's innovative "paid paid vacation" policy, which has significantly improved employee well-being. The conversation also touches on negotiation strategies, the fallacy of control, and Bart's vision for Full Contact's future as a potential public company with a globally connected team.

Summary Notes

Introduction to Founders Friday

  • Harry Stebbings hosts the 20 minutes VC podcast, featuring discussions with key figures in venture capital and entrepreneurship.
  • Founders Friday is a segment focusing on entrepreneurial insights and stories.
  • Bart Lorang, the founder and CEO of Full Contact, is the guest, bringing a dual perspective as both a founder and a managing director at V1 VC.

You are listening to the 20 minutes VC with me, Harry Stebbings at h stepbings with two B's on Snapchat. And we are back in the world of Founders Friday today.

This quote introduces the podcast and the specific segment being discussed, Founders Friday, which focuses on entrepreneurial stories and insights.

Full Contact and Bart Lorang's Background

  • Full Contact is a leading contact platform for professionals, teams, and businesses.
  • The company has raised over $45 million from notable investors.
  • Bart Lorang has a unique position, being both the founder and CEO of Full Contact and the managing director at V1 VC, a seed-stage VC fund.
  • The podcast acknowledges Brad Feld and David Cohen for introducing Bart Lorang to the show.

Bart is the founder and CEO at Full Contact, the leading contact platform for professionals, teams, and businesses, and they've raised over $45 million in funding from some of the best in the business.

This quote provides background information on Bart Lorang's company, Full Contact, and his role as CEO, emphasizing the company's success in raising significant funding.

EShares and Fond as Essential Tools for VCs

  • EShares is highlighted as a critical software for VCs, offering cap table management, equity management, 409A valuations, and liquidity.
  • Fond is an employee engagement suite with rewards, perks, and engagement IQ as its core products, aiming to improve organizational health and employee satisfaction.

EShares is the number one cap table management platform, allowing for equity management 409A valuations and liquidity all in one place.

This quote describes EShares as an essential tool for venture capitalists, detailing its key services and features.

Bart Lorang's Entrepreneurial Journey and Founding of Full Contact

  • Bart Lorang is a lifelong entrepreneur with 28 years in the software industry.
  • The idea for Full Contact came from observing his then-girlfriend's immaculate Outlook contacts and his desire to replicate that organization.
  • Full Contact was created to address the pervasive problem of managing contact information and networking data.
  • The company's initial prototype, Rainmaker, gained significant attention from Lifehacker, leading to a surge in demand and the decision to join an accelerator and raise capital.
  • Bart credits his wife, Sarah, for inspiring the creation of Full Contact.

I was in between ventures and I actually started dating my wife Sarah. We were in grad school and one night I got a peek at her outlook contacts... The startishing thing was her contacts were absolutely perfect and immaculate.

This quote narrates the personal experience that led to the founding of Full Contact, emphasizing the influence of Bart Lorang's wife's meticulous contact management.

The Intersection of Founding and Investing

  • Bart Lorang's experience as a founder and investor provides a unique perspective on analyzing startups.
  • His role at V1 VC evolved naturally from his experience as an angel investor alongside Bret Jackson and Benny Joseph.
  • Being on both sides of the table is beneficial for understanding the entrepreneurial and investment processes.

I mean, my role at V1 VC just sort of was a natural evolution... to me it's actually very helpful to be quote simultaneously on both sides of the table.

This quote explains how Bart Lorang's experience as both a founder and an investor offers a comprehensive understanding of the startup ecosystem.

Impact of Women in Entrepreneurship

  • The conversation acknowledges the significant impact women have on the lives and success of entrepreneurs.
  • Bart Lorang credits the women in his life, particularly his wife, for their influence and support.

What are we without the women in our life?

This quote reflects on the importance of the support and influence of women in the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs.## Insights into Business Operations and Coaching

  • Being involved in venture capital provides a unique perspective on one's own business.
  • Coaching other entrepreneurs can highlight issues within one's own company.
  • Understanding capital allocation is crucial for CEOs as companies grow.
  • The process of making seed stage investments is similar to constructing a portfolio within a company.

"And it gives me insight into something I might be screwing up at full contact."

This quote emphasizes the reflective benefit of coaching others—it can reveal flaws in one's own business operations.

"Your job becomes more about capital allocation and where you're placing your bets."

This quote underlines the transition a CEO experiences as their company grows, with a focus shifting towards strategic investment and resource distribution.

The Emotional Challenges of Entrepreneurship

  • Serving as a coach for entrepreneurs involves addressing the emotional difficulties of entrepreneurship.
  • A community of CEOs and founders discussing problems can provide valuable perspectives and support.

"My role at V one VC is actually diving into the entrepreneurs about the emotional, gut wrenching difficulties of entrepreneurship."

This quote highlights the emotional support role that venture capitalists can play for entrepreneurs, acknowledging the psychological challenges they face.

The Value of a CEO Coach

  • Having a CEO coach can be transformative for personal growth and business leadership.
  • Personal challenges and feelings of inadequacy can act as a catalyst for seeking a CEO coach.
  • Investing in personal development is seen as beneficial for the company's success.

"I just kind of felt like a failure as a husband, as a CEO, as a person."

This quote reveals the personal struggles that led the speaker to seek a CEO coach, showing that personal and professional lives are intertwined.

"I would encourage every CEO to try it out."

This quote suggests that all CEOs could benefit from coaching, not just when they face self-doubt or challenges.

Personal Development and Leadership

  • CEOs should invest in their personal growth, which can positively impact their company.
  • Participating in CEO peer groups and practicing meditation are key activities for personal and professional well-being.
  • Managing one's schedule to allow for 'think time' is crucial for maintaining balance and avoiding burnout.

"If you're not spending 10% of your salary every year in your company on your own personal growth and development, like, you're literally suboptimizing the company."

The speaker advocates for personal development as a strategic investment that can enhance company performance.

"Only schedule 50% of your calendar."

This quote suggests a strategy for time management that ensures CEOs have adequate space for reflection and avoids overcommitment.

Negotiation and Deal Closing

  • Self-perception as a negotiator can differ from how others view one's abilities.
  • The speaker expresses doubt about their negotiation skills.

"I've actually never considered myself a great negotiator."

Despite being recognized for deal-closing abilities, the speaker questions their negotiation skills, indicating a possible disconnect between self-assessment and external perception.## Deal Making Strategies

  • Harry Stebbings believes in creating win-win scenarios rather than fostering adverse competition.
  • He emphasizes understanding the other party's strategic objectives and aligning interests.
  • Creativity is key in fulfilling both parties' needs in a negotiation.
  • Harry is impatient with back-and-forth negotiations and optimizes for time, viewing some deal points as inconsequential in the long run.
  • He argues that if a deal hinges on small percentage differences, it may not be worth pursuing.

"I actually think I'm just a great deal maker in terms of just finding a win win scenario for both parties, to me, is the best."

This quote highlights Harry's belief that the best deals are those where both parties benefit, rather than one party winning at the other's expense.

"I optimize for time, often on deals, and then this is back to the portfolio allocation standpoint."

Harry prioritizes efficiency in deal-making, suggesting that he values time management and considers the broader context of portfolio management.

"If the successive negotiation hinges on if the IRR is 12% or 14% and it's that close, it's probably not a good deal."

This quote underscores Harry's view that deals should be clear-cut and not overly dependent on marginal gains, as such deals may not be fundamentally sound.

Monetization Philosophy

  • Bart Lorang discusses the concept of monetizing only a portion of the value provided, as suggested by G2 Patel.
  • He believes in providing goodwill in negotiations without always being transactional and monetary-based.
  • Bart suggests that charging customers for over 50% of the value is reasonable, with the caveat that relationship dynamics play a role.

"You should only monetize to 30% of your actual value that you provide."

Bart references G2 Patel's advice on monetization, implying that companies should not fully monetize the value they provide to customers.

"I think that it should be over 50%. If you had to peg me into a number, I think you could always leave things on the table."

Bart disagrees with the 30% suggestion, proposing that companies should aim to monetize more than half of the value they provide while still leaving something for relationship building.

Differentiating Short-Term vs. Long-Term Relationships

  • Bart Lorang values long-term relationships over short-term, transactional interactions.
  • He looks for signs that a party is focused on immediate monetary gain versus a longer-term partnership.
  • Actions, language, and email verbiage can indicate whether a relationship is short-term or long-term.

"I try to run my life around long term relationships. I think that transactional things don't interest me very much."

Bart expresses his personal and professional preference for long-term relationships rather than short-term, transactional engagements.

"If you can tell that they're maximizing for the monetary value on day one and they're not thinking longer term, that turns me off."

This quote reveals Bart's aversion to parties that prioritize immediate financial benefits without considering the potential for a lasting partnership.

  • Full Contact, where Bart Lorang is involved, offers a unique benefit called paid paid vacations.
  • Employees receive an additional $7,500 stipend for vacations, with the requirement to truly disconnect from work.
  • This initiative has positively impacted employees' lives and work attitudes.

"Paid paid vacation is a thing that we came up with about five years ago at full contact. And we pay every employee $7,500 once a year to take a vacation."

Bart describes the paid paid vacation policy at Full Contact, highlighting the company's innovative approach to employee benefits.

"Everybody takes it. Everybody takes it. Everybody follows the rules and actually changed a lot of people's lives, which I'm the most proud of."

Bart shares the success of the paid paid vacation policy, noting its widespread adoption and life-changing effects on employees.

Impact of Digital Detox

  • Bart notes that it takes about three days for people to detox from digital devices on vacation.
  • After detoxing, people become more aware of their surroundings and experience reduced anxiety and stress.
  • The experience of disconnecting leads to insights about the negative impact of digital devices and the benefits of taking breaks.

"First of all, when you go on a paid vacation, it takes about three days to digitally detox."

Bart discusses the initial phase of a digital detox during paid vacations, suggesting that it is a necessary period for people to adjust to being unplugged.

"They realize, a, they should do that more often, b, they were unnecessarily in a stress anxiety feedback loop created by the digital devices of today's era."

This quote reflects the realizations employees have after disconnecting from digital devices, including the need for more frequent breaks and the recognition of the stress caused by constant connectivity.## Company Culture and Work-Life Balance

  • Company processes improve when employees take time off, indicating they don't need to be heroes all the time.
  • Mental health benefits as people realize they can be efficient in fewer hours, promoting work-life balance.

They don't need to be the hero all the time. And so we've actually noticed processes improve because people know they're going to be gone.

This quote emphasizes that employees do not always need to be the central figure in operations, and that processes can improve when they are absent, possibly due to better preparation and delegation.

People realize that you don't actually have to work 70 hours. You can actually knock it out in 35 hours.

This quote highlights the realization that long work hours are not necessary for productivity, and that efficiency can be achieved with focused and simplified work.

Quick Fire Round: Success

  • Neil Armstrong is considered the epitome of success for his historic achievement in space exploration.

The first individual to come to mind is actually Neil Armstrong.

This quote identifies Neil Armstrong as a symbol of success due to his monumental accomplishment of being the first person to walk on the moon.

Quick Fire Round: Favorite Book

  • "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" is a favored book for its portrayal of personal and professional growth and the idea of reaching new levels of ascension.

My favorite book is actually Jonathan Livingston Siegel... It's really a journey about just the evolution of crucible moments, personally and professionally.

This quote explains why "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" is the speaker's favorite book, highlighting its themes of crucial life moments and the potential for continuous personal and professional development.

Quick Fire Round: Change in VC and Startups

  • Advocates for increased emotional vulnerability and empathy in the venture capital and startup sectors.
  • Emphasizes the personal nature of business and the importance of acknowledging emotional dynamics.

The thing that I would like to see most is emotional vulnerability and empathy.

This quote calls for a greater focus on emotional vulnerability and empathy within the VC and startup communities, suggesting that the business is not just transactional but also deeply personal.

Quick Fire Round: Favorite Blog or Newsletter

  • The Abundance 360 Insider by Peter Diamandis is the preferred newsletter for its focus on exponential growth in technologies.

My favorite newsletter is actually the abundance 360 Insider by Peter Diamondis, founder of the xprize about exponential growth in technologies.

This quote reveals the speaker's favorite newsletter, which provides insights into rapidly advancing technologies, reflecting the speaker's interest in innovation and growth.

Quick Fire Round: Shift in Perspective

  • Shifted belief from the notion of control to accepting the messiness of the universe and adopting a hands-off management style.

I think I've changed my mind on the notion that there is such thing as control.

This quote indicates a significant change in mindset, moving away from the illusion of control to embracing a more flexible and hands-off approach to management and life.

Vision for the Next Five Years

  • Anticipates Full Contact becoming a public company or being ready for it.
  • Aims to reduce personal involvement in operations, aspiring to be a "lazy CEO."
  • Envisions a global business with an emotionally connected team.

Full contact will either be a public company or ready to be public... I view us as a global business with offices around the world and an emotionally connected, vulnerable team that loves each other.

This quote outlines the speaker's vision for their company in the next five years, which includes significant growth, potential public offering, and fostering a strong, emotionally supportive corporate culture.

Gratitude and Future Prospects

  • Expresses gratitude for the opportunity to share the journey with Full Contact.
  • Thanks individuals who facilitated the interview and looks forward to the future.

Thanks, Harry. It's been awesome.

This quote is a sign-off message expressing appreciation for the interview and the experience of sharing insights about Full Contact's journey and future aspirations.

Promotional Segment

  • EShares is recommended for equity management and related services.
  • Fond is highlighted as an employee engagement suite offering rewards, perks, and engagement surveys.

EShares is the number one cab table management platform... Fond is the employee engagement suite with three core products.

This quote promotes EShares as a leading platform for managing company equity and Fond as a comprehensive suite for enhancing employee engagement, indicating their importance in the VC and startup ecosystem.

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