For the last 3 years I have been pretty fascinated with a company called Benchmark Capital.
In 1997 the turned $6.7 million into $5 Billion by backing a small start up called eBay. They are a venture capital firm based out of the Silicon Vallley. But they aren’t exactly the cut throats that most of us might make your average billionaire to be. This is taken from their website:
When we created Benchmark, we created a new kind of venture firm – one that’s based on teamwork, superior service to entrepreneurs and an intense dedication to building technology companies of lasting value.
Results Through Teamwork
Unlike other venture firms where partners work independently and even compete for resources, we function as a team. Every full-time general partner is equal in terms of contribution and compensation. And, every partner is invested in each other’s success.
This unique team approach gives our portfolio companies the benefit of having all of our experienced, well-connected partners working for them, not just one. Whether it’s to help recruit executives, facilitate corporate partnerships, or get advice on strategic moves, each company has access to the combined resources of the entire firm.
This is such a weird way of doing business. It’s so un-capitalistic that it’s capitalistic…… or vice versa.
Another article said this:
Uniquely, profits would be distributed equally among the partners, a
practice said to eliminate infighting. The partners were not tagged
with ranks such as “senior” or “associate.” The group set for itself
the goal of becoming the number one venture capital firm within ten
years, hence the ambitious Benchmark name.
The story of their partnership has been a source of inspiration for me because when I think of business partnerships I want to think of something that I can invest in that will be long term. I also find it difficult to think of working “over” or “under” someone long term. The fact that they figured out how to do this in a modern corporate environment is awesome. It brings me to a question that I have been asking for a while now.
- Are christian ethics just something we tack onto any business model or might there be something more or less “christian” with the model itself?
- If there was such a thing, what might a christian business model* look like?
You can read more about Benchmark Capital in a book called eBoys by Randall Stross…..or more realistically here’s the wikipedia article.
* I don’t really believe in “christian” bumper stickers, “christian” music, or “christian” t-shirts and am not claiming that a biz model can be labeled as “christian” but am more asking what model might more reflect the Christian Ethic?