Panoramic Ventures is adding to its executive team. Both Christy Johnson (General Partner and Chief Performance Officer) and Mike Vandiver (Senior Vice President of Portfolio Performance) joined the Atlanta-based VC firm officially in February.
The two join Managing Partners Mark Buffington and Paul Judge and General Partners Paul Iaffaldano, Dan Drechsel, and Mark Flickinger.
Johnson is moving back to the venture capital side of the table after spending seven years on the operating side as CEO of AchieveIt. The SaaS integrated plan management platform is a Panoramic portfolio company.
“The timing ended up being right on both sides,” Johnson told Hypepotamus. “AchieveIt was experiencing continued momentum and had found a great product-market fit in Federal, State, and Local governments, so it made sense to bring in a CEO with that specific experience to take the company to the next level. Panoramic had been undergoing exceptional growth and knew that part of their consistent performance was due to how closely they partnered with the leadership teams across their portfolio. Formalizing this experience and growing a team of seasoned operators was a priority.”
Performance Engineering in the VC world
The team at Panoramic explains that Performance Engineering has long been at the core of their work with early-stage startups.
Performance Engineering, Johnson explains, is about becoming “partners in building.”
“Early-stage companies that are just starting to scale are solving for a lot of variables – developing an experienced team, the strongest business model, optimum pricing, honed targeting and messaging, and a balanced product road map, to name just a few,” she said. “Every company has its own set of strengths that its team is leaning into. Performance Engineering meets the company where it is to support its scaling efforts. That might be helping with talent, resources, frameworks, or connections. Or it might be simply acting as a sounding board. We are there to help them grow and perform.”
Performance Engineering focuses on four key drivers: talent, revenue acceleration, operational excellence, and research and capital markets.
Talent is an early priority because it’s often a big pain point and a struggle for many early-stage companies.
“In 2016, we began to hear repeatedly that talent was a challenge for our portfolio companies. It became clear that many founders did not have experience hiring and lacked formal processes or tools,” said Mark Flickinger, General Partner and COO of Panoramic Ventures. “We knew we could help. We could provide starting points for job descriptions, hiring rubrics, and interview approaches they could then make their own. This approach helped founders identify what a good candidate looked like and allowed them to run a more thorough process. To take the support even further, we created a database of experienced candidates who we felt could fit well for their needs, culture, and company stage.”
That has led to tangible results for portfolio companies like cybersecurity company Lumu and CaseStatus, a SaaS platform for law firms. Both were able to find strong C-Suite talent when they were ready to expand.
“Over time, the effort has paid off. People want to work with those that are helpful to them. We sit at an intersection and can more easily match talent with opportunity, bringing value both on the founder side and on the side of candidates looking for their next opportunity,” added Flickinger.
Performance Engineering for Building Resilience
The VC landscape in 2023 looks very different than it did just two years ago when funding skyrocketed after the initial shock of COVID-19. While new checks are being written at a slower pace than in the past couple of years, VCs are still investing and striving to help portfolio teams navigate uncertain times.
For Panoramic, that means helping founders use this time as a chance to strengthen their business fundamentals.
In addition to actively supporting their portfolio companies through Performance Engineering and partnership, the team has launched a series of blog posts dedicated to the fundamentals of a healthy startup, namely understanding financials, growth, marketing and sales, and the people side of a business. These insights and tools will roll out on the Panoramic site throughout Q1. And the team will release a full Performance Engineering eBook in early Q2 2023.