OpenView Partners Releases Case Study on Engagement Model

Scott Johnson and Pete Gombert know plenty about how to run successful start-up and growth stage companies. Scott, the founder and CEO of AtTask, and Pete, the founder and CEO of Balihoo, have been creating and managing their current businesses for more than a decade collectively.

But that doesn’t mean that the two executives object to having a like-minded advisor to bounce ideas off of every once and while.

That’s exactly what they have in OpenView Venture Partners Firas Raouf and George Roberts. When both AtTask and Balihoo joined OpenView’s portfolio at different points in the last few years, the CEOs were paired up with Firas and George, respectively, to provide a mentor-mentee relationship as part of the firm’s high level Engagement Model. Both Scott and Pete had their doubts initially, but couldn’t be happier with that model’s results.

“At first, you’re not really sure if they’re going to come in heavy-handed and try to really shake things up,” Scott says. “We were a pretty young company with a small management team. So adding a new dynamic to it created a big question mark. But almost immediately we saw the value in their approach. We’re a better company because of my relationship with Firas. When we have issues that need to be resolved, he’s right there with solutions we can put in place to solve them.”

That’s the idea. With the Engagement Model, OpenView’s venture partners aren’t asked to be dictators, they’re designed to be collaborators. In addition to investment research and filling a seat on the company’s board of directors, the venture partners’ main goal is to be a trusted advisor.

“We wear a few different hats, but the general premise of the Engagement Model is to offer open ears and sound advice,” Firas says. “We’re not here to run the companies for them, but I think we do possess the operational expertise that can help them get past certain issues that a lot of expansion stage companies face.”

To learn more about OpenView and how we work with senior managers within our portfolio, read the Engagement Model case study.

About OpenView Venture Partners

OpenView Venture Partners is an expansion stage venture capital fund with a focus on high-growth software, internet, and technology-enabled companies. Through its staff of seasoned operating executives, who collectively bring several decades of technology and management experience to the firm, OpenView is able to help portfolio companies with quickly ramping up Product, Go-To-Market, and Organizational and Operational functions to best practice levels. The firm was founded in 2006 and has a total capital under management of approximately $240 million. OpenView Venture Partners is based in Boston and invests on a worldwide basis. OpenView recently released OpenView Labs, an idea site for senior managers at expansion stage technology companies. For more information, visit OpenView Labs directly.

About AtTask

The AtTask project and portfolio management (PPM) solution focuses all knowledge workers on those activities that make them and their company more effective, innovative, and competitive. This platform-independent and multilingual solution increases efficiency for small-to medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 companies across the globe. AtTask’s clients include American Airlines, Chevron, Cisco Systems, GE Healthcare, Google, HBO, Johnson & Johnson, Newsweek, Samsung, Toyota, and Whirlpool.

About Balihoo

Balihoo is the premier provider of local marketing automation technology and services to franchises and national brands with local marketing needs. Balihoo enables enterprise-class marketing at the local level and gives national brands full visibility into all local marketing activities and results. A combination of web-based software and services, Balihoo enables national brands to dramatically reduce marketing expenses and immediately increases local sales revenue. For local affiliates, Balihoo takes the complexity out of local marketing—making it easy to quickly implement an expert, integrated marketing strategy that is consistent with the national brand.