Today's Investor: Tod Francis

Meliza Solan Surdi · January 24, 2011 · Short URL:

No. 1 mistake: Not evolving fast enough

Entrepreneurs often choose the path of innovation, without realizing the kind of lifestyle that comes with it.

As they courageously take risks, they will more often than not make several mistakes, which, fortunately, become valuable lessons for the rest of us.

But let's not forget the investors, who also help entrepreneurs make those lessons we can all learn from, and who support the innovations we can benefit from. 

Within our community you will find a couple thousand investors.

We've just created new profiles for our Vator members to share their story.

So if you are an entreprenuer or an investor, we'd like to hear from you.

This week we will be featuring a variety of investors. Today's investor is Tod Francis, managing director of Shasta Ventures.

Tod will be one of our VC panelists at our upcoming Vator Splash event this February 3 at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. 

There's still time to get early-bird tickets. Go to the registration page to reserve your tickets and see the agenda. These prices are good until next Monday!

I am: An Investor

Name companies you've founded or co-founded:


Name companies you've invested in:


Name startups you worked for:

Shasta Ventures - I realize it is an investment firm but we did start this from scratch

If you are an entrepreneur, why?

It is exhilarating to create something

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Frustrating - the process of fundraising
Rewarding - having a vision and pursuing against conventional wisdom, creating from blank slate, hiring a team, seeing progress, the feeling of accomplishment

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

Not evolving fast enough. Few companies end up what they set out to be. The successful ones see trends and make iterations to a better business. The other big issue is losing track of the customer needs. Your customer experience will determine the potential of the company.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1) Customer experience is key, 2) hire smart, decisive people who can evolve, 3) persistence - follow your passion/vision against conventional wisdom. There are many more, but you only asked for three.

(Editor's note: Tod is one of the investor judges at the upcoming Vator Splash Feb event in San Francisco. He'll join other VC judges/panelists, such as John O'Farrell from Andreessen Horowitz, Thomas Korte from AngelPad, David Hornik of August Capital, Jay Jamison of Blue Run, Duncan Davidson of Bulppen, Joe Kraus of Google Ventures, David Thacker of Greylock, and Jed Katz of Javelin Ventures. You won't want to miss this event. See agenda and buy your tickets here. Or if you want to be one of the top 10 startups presenting onstage before them and an audience of 350 to 400, join the competition.



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Tod Francis

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Tod Francis is with Shasta Ventures. He focuses his investing activity on early stage companies that leverage technology to improve consumer experiences.