Kodiak vs Battery: Adventures in VC Culture

Lest anyone think all venture firms are the same, here are some interesting comments from a Kodiak-based venture guy on how the culture there differs from the one at Battery:

Angel Mehta: Tell me how the cultures at Battery and Kodiak differ.

John Abraham: They’re highly different. There are many things about Battery that I miss and there are many things about Kodiak that I love; so, this is a real grey area. Battery has a cadre of EXTREMELY bright associates or junior partners who basically search the earth for anything that moves and then they analyze it. At Battery, you can get very spoiled as a partner because you basically throw darts at the wall, and say, “I think I’ll work on this.”

So, deals at Battery percolate. They come from the grassroots up to the partners, but by the time the partners see them, they’re clinical and actually a lot of the dirt is scrubbed out of it, if you know what I mean.

Angel Mehta: Please elaborate. What do you mean by “clinical”?

John Abraham: These younger associates, senior associates and in some cases, partners are extremely smart, but part of their career hinges on getting transactions accomplished. So they anticipate what will fly and what won’t and they tend to clean the things that won’t fly out of the deal before the partner sees them. That’s good and bad because in our business, it’s not like buying a house with a leaky roof where you know it’s going to cost you a couple of grand to fix it. In our business, companies with leaky roofs may not be fixable.

At Battery, there’s a strong culture of collaboration — I miss it. At Kodiak, we have no associates. We don’t have the deal flow origination that Battery has. We get our deal flow via the friends and family network, so I don’t see a hundred business plans to make one investment anymore. I might see 15 that are pretty high quality.


  1. Surely these differences are – more than anything else – down to Battery vs. Kodiak’s relative ages, the stage in the growth cycle that each is at, and hence their relative size and scale.
    And clearly some statements are tautological: one can hardly collaborate in a firm where there is nobody to collaborate with!