“Clearly, Pelion is the best VC in Utah… but I wanted to know why the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs were choosing them over Silicon Valley investors.”
Blake Murray, CEO, Divvy.
They wouldn’t leave and we are so thankful
Blake Murray is the CEO and Co-founder of DIVVY. The expense management solution company that’s currently taking the tech industry by storm. And it’s doing so with smart, visionary technology dreamed up by a business owner, for business owners. As is often the case, though, they had a little help. From none other than Pelion, a “late-to-the-table unknown.” Here, in Blake’s own words, is how it came to be:
Blake Murray: Pelion passed what I call the phone call test. It goes like this: If, four years down the road, I were to get a call from a VC partner, would I be glad and pumped up to talk to them? Or would I dread the conversation like the proverbial plague? Well, I can happily say my true feelings match the former. Probably because it’s humanly impossible to resist their appeal. It’s undeniable. As evidenced by my favorite Ben and Chad story:
We already had verbal offers from several other firms when I got a call from Pelion. Ben and Chad said they just wanted to have a meeting. And while I was happy to oblige, it was pretty late in the game for Divvy to be entertaining new offers. But, as a courtesy, I invited them to meet with us. Needless to say, it was a pretty fateful decision.
I had already met with some highly exceptional VC firms. But for all of their experience and knowledge, Ben and Chad connected the dots of what Divvy could become faster than any other group we had encountered. Considering the company they were in, that’s no small feat. But again, unfortunately, time was against them.
As impressed as I was with their immediate grasp of Divvy’s potential, there wasn’t much more I could say than, “I wish we had talked 4 weeks ago.” It was just too late in the process to give them serious consideration.
Ben and Chad, of course, took my misguided rejection graciously and were on their way. But this is where it gets interesting. Not long after they left, I was on a conference call in my office when I noticed Ben and Chad confidently striding through our office on the way to our conference room.
Startled, to say the least, I got off my call and met them there. And, I have to admit,their enthusiasm was positively contagious. “No” just isn’t in their vocabulary. They said they wanted to make an offer right now. They told me they thought we were the next big, great American company. I have to admit it, they had me.
In doing my due diligence and checking them out, I interviewed 13 of their CEOs. Historically, when I’ve conducted similar interviews in the past, some dirt inevitably rose to the surface. But not with Pelion. They were beloved across the board. That just doesn’t happen. In fact, I haven’t found any group of entrepreneurs speak more highly of a venture firm.
While giving up the brand recognition of a larger more familiar firm originally gave me some concern, it was quickly outweighed by my affection for the way Pelion does business.
When you need face time, they’re there. And if you need them to keep their distance, they do exactly that. But what they won’t do is insert themselves into your business as an uninformed advisor and pretend they know how to run it — which, sadly, other firms are often quick to do.
And as you can see, my faith in Pelion has worked out pretty well. I look forward to taking their calls — Now, or four years from now.