Karl Alomar on a Path Forward

In a crisis, a positive mindset is as important as the strategy itself.

By Lindsey Marlowe, Karl Alomar

August 13, 2020



M13 Managing Partner Karl Alomar joins the Demo Day podcast by Coefficient Labs to talk about the path forward in this novel time for entrepreneurs. Karl discusses how leaders can stand out during the COVID-19 pandemic and build a positive path forward from this unprecedented position. From highlighting leadership qualities to mindset adjustment, learn more from Karl about how entrepreneurs can make the most of this time and prepare for the other side.

The Demo Day podcast hosts conversations for founders, venture capitalists, and startup leaders who want to explore insights about top accelerators and incubators across the country. Below we’ve recapped some key takeaways from the discussion.

On developing relationships with founders

When assessing the capabilities of a founder, investors ask themselves: How excited can we get around this individual? Have they set up a community? Can they be coached? Can we help create an amazing founding team out of the beginnings they’ve built?

It's much more about potential than education or past experience.

You’re looking at it as a marriage, something that’s going to last for such a long time that you have to develop that relationship. Trust that you can see yourself growing with this person for years to come.

We approach it as a relationship. One of the key things is we have a bench of incredible operating executives that work within the fund, the partners within the sun. And their focus is not on driving investments but rather driving the success of founding teams.

On leaders facing the hurdles of COVID-19

The biggest change is the amount of face time and personal time you get with individuals. We now have to focus on building digitally, and assessing how companies operate in a distributed fashion.

We’re looking at how adaptable companies are to learn and evolve during COVID-19. There are a lot of leadership skills and capabilities that investors assess, and we want to know if a distributed workforce could be a big challenge for your team.

The truly successful leaders are the ones who are able to take these moments and find the opportunity. They're looking to build and create something positive rather than focusing on hardship.

You have to play a real balance between offense and defense, and you have to find leaders who can find the opportunity and the offense in a situation like this.

On finding a path forward

You have to focus on what matters most. Focus on clear goals will allow you to optimize resource efficiency and avoid distractions or digression.

Bringing a positive attitude and mindset is just as important as the strategy itself. A key leadership capability is to make lemonade out of lemons and motivate your team along the journey with you.

The offense makes the difference. If you're able to maintain momentum and drive positive outcomes through the crisis, then your company should be able to accelerate and might shine on the other side.

Figuring out what needs to be true allows us to understand the risk and the potential of these businesses. It's a way for us to frame out what we need to be true to ensure that they don't hit headwinds as they grow the business and as they develop their ideas.

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