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Philipp Stauffer, Co-founder and general partner of Fyrfly Venture Partners, Swisspreneur Podcast
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Timestamps:

01:19 - The Role of a Board

05:21 - How Often a Board Should Meet

10:15 - The Board Meeting Agenda

13:35 - How to Make Decisions as a Board

17:25 - The Importance of Good Communication

About Philipp Stauffer:

Philipp Stauffer is the co-founder and general partner of Fyrfly Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in companies using data and intelligence to build their competitive advantage. His investments have included AngelList, Philz Coffee, and Beekeeper, among many others. As well as being a founding board member of the Swiss Blockchain Federation, he is also on the Advisory Board of the Swiss Entrepreneurs Foundation. Additionally, he serves on the boards of PubMatic, the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce, and the Digital Citizen Fund.

In this episode, Philipp speaks about the operational aspects of being a founder specifically about how to plan and execute a successful board meeting. He gives insight into the different stages of a board meeting, from discussing how often a board should meet, to whether physical or remote board meetings are better. Phillipp starts the episode by explaining the role of a board. The board has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of those they represent, including:

  • Evaluating the governance of the company
  • Hiring or firing the CEO when necessary
  • Looking out for the shareholders’ interests
  • Overseeing corporate activities
  • Assessing performance

When it comes to who should sit on the board, he explains that for startups it is important to have members who will:

  • Act in the company's best interest
  • Invest adequate time
  • Fit into the company's culture

Having self-awareness is key as a founder as well as knowing what is lacking in the company and what needs to be done to fix it. He sees the board as a secret weapon that can help a company win the market and urges other founders to do the same. 

How often a board should meet is equally important. The normal practice is at least once per year; however, he advises boards to hold quarterly meetings, because each meeting has a different role. The first board meeting will focus on budgeting, planning and accountability, while subsequent meetings will change based on specific needs. In addition to quarterly meetings, board members can meet as often as necessary. For example, to encourage collaboration and keep everyone up to date, monthly board meetings may be most appropriate if you're in a high-property fundraising mode.

Board meeting preparation does not just include what is done before or during the meeting, it also includes following up with members after the meeting. It is important to manage board members proactively. By being proactive, a founder can make the most out of their board, and this will in return benefit the company.

Memorable Quotes:

“Board members are a secret weapon to help you win the market."

“Your own job as a CEO is to fire yourself if you're not doing your work. It’s important to look in the mirror.”

Take a listen to our conversation with Jon Brezinski, co-founder and CEO of Invenda, to find out why he sees board meetings as a great opportunity to have fun.

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