Richard Thornton

Why are you in venture capital?

Having been on the other side of venture capital as an operator in technology and software businesses, I was always intrigued by how VCs operated and specifically the skill they need in having an eye for an opportunity and an appetite for risk.  I also wanted to give back in terms of the experience and learnings I’ve gained from 20 years in sales and leadership roles helping build and scale technology companies.  My Operating Partner role allows me to do this and the fact I can do this whilst continuing to educate and enrich my own knowledge and meet inspiring and super sharp people along the way makes it even more satisfying.

What do you do at J12?

I’m an Operating Partner specialising in commercial excellence, so my role is to work across our portfolio companies helping Founders and leadership teams Optimize their sales and customer-facing functions.  I focus on areas like sales scaling, performance management, sales culture, international expansion, and talent acquisition.  I also contribute towards helping to both source and evaluate investment opportunities.

A piece of advice – how do you make your pitch stand out?

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of amazingly helpful resources out there to guide anyone looking to put together a pitch deck. Follow a well-trodden path in terms of laying out your story. Then focus on simplifying your narrative and be disciplined in ensuring clarity of your proposition and why it’s highly investible.  The reality is, most people’s attention spans mean they will take away 2-3 key points from your deck. 10-12 slides and 1 key message to land per slide is a good formula. Make it stick!

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