Oh-Oh, VC Tick-Tocks are Back

I somehow missed it until now, but there was a puffy profile of Battery Ventures valley guy Roger Lee in the Merc last Wednesday. Whatever Roger’s and Battery’s merits, and they are undoubtedly many, this late-’90s-ish piece doesn’t do much to build trust, with a tick-tock of a typical venture guy’s day being a) excruciatingly boring, and b) not exactly a great way to demonstrate insight.

Consider the following unintentionally (I think) funny examples from consecutive meetings with entrepreneurs at Lee’s Sand Hill office:

For example, on a recent morning at Battery’s subdued modern offices on Sand Hill Road — outside which luxury cars, including a black Bentley and gray Porsche Cayenne, sit baking in the sun — Lee meets with Yu Chiang Cheng, co-founder of the online gaming start-up World Golf Tour, in Battery’s spacious central conference room.

After a lengthy talk about the golf game’s latest iterations and when the product can be released for testing, Lee playfully boots Cheng from his laptop computer — “OK, get out of that seat so I can play”
— suggesting afterward that the technology “not overburden beginning users” after Lee himself slices ball after ball.

Cheng, whose team has worked with Lee over the past four months, and who is about to sign a term sheet with Battery for an undisclosed amount of funding, agrees. “The swing does come back a lot faster than it does in most golf games,” he says.

Lee is also helpful when the founders of Agito Networks, a start-up being incubated in several spare offices at Battery, ask him for advice on when to reach out to the business press. “The more you institutionalize (what you are doing) with press releases, the less authentic it seems,” Lee tells them during a half-hour meeting. “I think the way you want your news to seep out is to talk directly with bloggers,” he says, offering up a list of potential contacts.


  1. i want to cry when i read these
    As Paul points out, Roger Lee is likely a very nice guy but we can all agree that VCs usually don’t come off so great in these pieces, eh?
    Here’s the template:
    1. Luxury cars/display of wealth: check!
    2. My day is very busy: check!
    3. Sagacious wisdom dispensed to non-business savvy engineering-type: check!

  2. This must have been Lee, Feb 22: “That’s it. I’m firing the PR agency.” — Subdued modern offices ? 11 years in the valley and no exits ? Sunglasses perched atop off-the-record CEO ? Geez, really “on message”. Funny, thanks for sharing. One simple lesson: only good PR is exit PR. We are much too boring for anything else !