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It’s an honor, a privilege and so supremely awesome to announce that our newest General Partner is Lars Dalgaard.
Lars is spectacularly qualified. He founded and ran SuccessFactors and led them to $364 million in annual revenue ultimately resulting in a $3.5 billion acquisition by SAP in 2011. This was by far the largest and most important acquisition in the history of the SaaS category. SAP then put Lars in charge of its newly formed Cloud Business unit, which he promptly grew to $1 billion in annual revenue. He also served as a member of the SAP Executive Board and the SAP Global Managing Board. He holds a B.A. from Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and an M.S. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business as a Sloan Fellow. And if you are an entrepreneur doing business internationally, Lars speaks 7 languages.
But that’s not why we are so fired up about Lars. Yes, he built one of the most important enterprise companies of the era. Yes, he fits our standard of Founder/CEOs advising Founder/CEOs. Those are the reasons why we were initially interested in Lars, but those are not the reasons why we absolutely had to have him on our team.
In venture capital, we spend lots of time thinking about business models, product market fit, inflection points, network effects, viral coefficients and other points of leverage in a business. Those things are important, but they are not what building a company is about. Those are not the things that founders and CEOs spend all day doing. They are not why engineers, product managers and sales people put in insane hours and make great sacrifices.
Building a company isn’t about business models and inflection points; it’s about doing something larger than yourself. It’s about working for each other. It’s about being part of a team trying to make possible the impossible. It’s about doing it in a way that no matter the outcome, everyone was glad they were there.
When Lars’ last day finally came after 12 long years of building SuccessFactors, a long line of employees formed. There each team member waited patiently to tell him one last story, recall one last thrill and give him one more hug. One by one, they told him how they did it together and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. That’s what building a company is about. That’s why we’re here and that’s why he’s here.