One sunny day in March, Gagan Biyani, the young and hugely ambitious CEO of Sprig—a company so new you probably have never heard of it—stepped into the main conference room at 2550 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. Here, inside this nondescript Silicon Valley office, everything was about to change for Biyani, and his small company.
He was here to pitch his business plan to Greylock Partners. The room is ordinary—a white board, table, some chairs—but through the eyes of a fledgling CEO, it becomes transformed.
“Coming in, the first person I see is Reid, right?… And then David is over here; Aneel is there,” Biyani says breathlessly. “It was the biggest moment of my life.”
Gathered here on that day were some of the most powerful venture capitalists in the valley: David Sze, Aneel Bhusri, Reid Hoffman and every other partner at Greylock.
These are the guys who backed Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pandora, Dropbox, Airbnb—at a time when they were not much bigger than Sprig. For a striving founder of a startup, pitching your business plan here is a bit like being a rookie pitcher stepping onto the mound at Yankee Stadium—with Babe Ruth walking up to the plate.
Out of thousands of business plans Greylock sees each year, only 20 or so make it to a full partnership meeting. Of those, only half get funded. Biyani was determined to show that Sprig was worthy. But more than just his shot at the big leagues, what Biyani got that day was an up-close look at how Greylock picks its bets.
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