Last night Derwent co-hosted a panel discussion with Stone & Chalk on FinTech advisory boards, with guest speakers Andrew Chick , John Chauvel and Luke Henningsen at Stone & Chalk’s Sydney office.
As experienced advisory board members, Andrew and John were able to share their experiences in relation to the challenges of being an advisory board member, how to determine whether you’re the right fit for a given advisory board role and the level of commitment you should expect when joining an advisory board.
Luke offered some great insights on what entrepreneurs should consider when putting together an advisory board, when is the right time to establish one and how prospective board members should go about building their advisory board portfolio.
There was a lot of discussion around how to incentivise advisory board members, given that start ups have limited cash and giving away equity is expensive. John noted that he’d come in as an investor in a number of startups and then later on taken an advisory board role where he felt he could add value to the business. Clearly this provides alignment, but care needs to be taken in making sure you have the right investors and the right advisory board members – the two are not necessarily the same. As Luke noted, you need to be bringing advisory board members on for the skills and knowledge they bring to the table, not because they’re going to invest in the business.
Andrew shared some great insights about how founders can get the most out of their advisory boards. Whilst an advisory board shouldn’t have the formality of a statutory board, a disciplined approach to regular meetings where the founders have a clear agenda for what they want to discuss and what areas they want advice from board members on, results in much better outcomes for the business. Founder engagement is critical, Andrew and John were strongly of the view that more communication with founders rather than less is the best strategy.