The partners at Benchmark are pleased to announce Chetan Puttagunta has joined the firm as our newest General Partner.
As early-stage investors, we are acutely aware of the work of other venture capitalists on the boards of the companies we serve. Nearly 15 years ago one of Benchmark’s founding partners, Kevin Harvey, saw the skills of a young Peter Fenton on a board they shared. Peter’s work so impressed Kevin that he recruited Peter to join Benchmark.
More recently, Peter encountered a once-in-a-generation venture capitalist on the board of Elastic, Chetan Puttagunta. In every way, from how Chetan discovered the Elastic opportunity by downloading the product and using it, to how he built a deep trusting relationship with the team, he demonstrated the qualities that define Benchmark and our aspirations to serve entrepreneurs. Chetan’s energy and devotion, his capacity to listen and to provide crisp, well reasoned advice set him apart in that elusive way that leads him to be a CEO’s first phone call.
In addition to Elastic, Chetan, at just 32 years of age, has developed a foundation of successful investments and relationships in the software ecosystem. He led the investment in Mulesoft (acquired by Salesforce for $6.5B) and MongoDB (NASDAQ: MDB). Those founders and CEOs called Chetan “the MVP of our board” and said that, “despite being nearly 20 years younger than everyone else, Chetan managed to deliver insights no one else had.” As the Benchmark partners got to know Chetan better, it became clear that his infectious curiosity, analytical rigor, and boundless energy to serve entrepreneurs fit perfectly with our culture. And Benchmark’s structure – now seven equal partners – means Chetan joins with the same authority, responsibility and ownership as the current partners. We believe Chetan will invest in many of the best enterprise companies of the next decade. And perhaps, he, like Kevin and Peter before him, will spot a future Benchmark partner on one of those company boards.
Our job, as early-stage venture capitalists, does not scale. It is defined by service to entrepreneurs and the teams they build, helping them to realize their vision and the potential of their companies. Whether it is recruiting a key executive, making a strategic decision, or taking a company public, productive and honest dialog between a CEO and a board member can contribute considerably to outcomes. While many venture firms have adopted a stage-agnostic approach, or have hired junior or role-defined staff to help source and support their investments, Benchmark continues to focus on and take pride in the craft of early-stage venture investing. To us, there is no substitute for an active and informed general partner on the board, working side by side with the ambitious, insightful, and often strong-willed entrepreneurs we aspire to serve. We have found a kindred spirit in Chetan as we continue on this mission.
Bill, Eric, Matt, Mitch, Peter, and Sarah