< Return to KF Review home page
Jeff Harbach admin

What It’s Like For a VC Who Becomes an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur LogoThe following story was a guest column by Kauffman Fellows CEO Jeff Harbach in Entrepreneur.

A VC switches sides, and reports back from the other side of the table

As much as venture capitalists need to know about entrepreneurship, I am always intrigued, and watch closely, when a VC becomes an entrepreneur and then goes out to raise money. It truly is enlightening to sit on the other side of the table.

Tammi Jantzen has done just that. As a VC who had been investing in products focused on women and children, she is now an entrepreneur working to raise money for her startup, Astarte Medical Partners, which is focused on technologies that seek to improve outcomes for high-risk pregnancies and pre-term births.

While she knows what she would look for in an investment as a VC, Jantzen reports back from her new role about what seems to click with investors as she pitches other VCs to raise capital.

Among her tips are that investors are really impressed if you are investing your own money, and that investors react well to entrepreneurs who let their enthusiasm shine through.

Of course, VCs have their own fundraising to do: They need to pitch their thesis to institutional investors to raise money for their fund. But, as someone who has been both an entrepreneur and investor myself, I have to say it’s the founders who inspire me; they’re the ones who really put themselves out there the most when starting a whole new company, with hopes that their big idea will change the world.


Jeff HarbachJeff Harbach (Class 16) is President and CEO of Kauffman Fellows. Jeff has been an entrepreneur and investor since 2002, and was Executive Director of the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), based out of Austin, TX, from 2011–2013, where he served his fellowship. He has led multiple startups, including two 7-Eleven stores, a luxury furniture store and interior design firm, and a private country club golf network. He was also an angel investor himself with the Vegas Valley Angels. Jeff holds a BS from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin. jharbach@kfp.org