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Why VCs Really Reject Startups 217

Posted by timothy
from the busy-taking-notes-for-friends dept.
itwbennett writes "Instead of simply not following up with startup proposals that he doesn't intend to pursue, venture capitalist Josh Breinlinger decided to change things up and not only hear every pitch request but respond with honest feedback. For those on the receiving end of that honest feedback, Breinlinger's silence may have been golden. It turns out that Breinlinger, and perhaps most VCs, reject your proposals because you lack experience and leadership skills and your team is weak. Would you rather hear the hard truth about why your startup didn't get funded or some vague dismissal?"
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Why VCs Really Reject Startups

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  • Hard truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 16, 2012 @02:47PM (#40345663)

    You can't fix what you don't know.

    • Re:Hard truth (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:55PM (#40346109) Homepage

      Agreed. And even without asking for funding from an outside party, I wish I'd gotten some honest advice before pursuing some of my past ideas.

      I suspect most would say this though... right up until they hear why their idea sucks. Then that person is, "just a cranky old hater trying to ruin my dreams".

      • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:00PM (#40346141) Homepage

        I should've added, it reminds me very much of this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6gZ4vk_Tw4 [youtube.com]

        Which is a conversation I've had more than once with only minor variation.

      • Re:Hard truth (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:07PM (#40346187)

        I suspect most would say this though... right up until they hear why their idea sucks. Then that person is, "just a cranky old hater trying to ruin my dreams".

        Maybe so, but if my dream is going to be ruined, I'd rather it happened before my career and/or personal finances were ruined with it.

        My immediate reaction to the original question, "Would you rather hear the hard truth about why your startup didn't get funded or some vague dismissal?", was that almost everyone who is ever going to succeed in business would want the hard truth, and a lot of people who were going to fail would think they knew better and didn't need to hear it.

      • by chrismcb (983081)
        The hard truth. If they say some vague wishy washy thing, you might try and fix the vague wishy washy thing, even though that isn't the problem.
        As far as hearing why your idea sucks, I think it depends. If they say "your idea sucks." then yeah he is "just a cranky old hater..." But if he says "your idea sucks because of X, Y, and Z" You can either try to change X, Y or Z. or do further research on the subject
        • The hard truth:

          Sorry, I haven't looked at your application long enough to have any concrete idea about it. At first glance your idea(|team) sucks, but I didn't lose my time looking for the details, so I can't tell them to you. I have only a gut feeling, but it is enough to reject you (the rules for acceptance are more stringent).

          I can understand why it would break some people. I can also understand why the VC is afraid the answer would burn bridges. Altough, yes, it is better to know that than any wish whas

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I agree and not only that but I've found honest criticism can help you decide whether or not an opportunity is worth pursuing.

        I have gone to auditions where they have said "We love your style but we want you to play like (X)" where X equals some famous player. i know when these words are spoken to simply thank them for their time and pack up because what they want is a mimic, which I find worse than working in a cubicle for sheer clock watching wanting to GTFO out the second the whistle blows drudgery. I ha

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)

          You probably already know this but in case you haven't, I read that Indiegogo.com is good for that sort of thing. I imagine KS has a bigger audience though.

    • Re:Hard truth (Score:4, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:10PM (#40346203)
      IMHO what's difficult is giving constructive feedback to somebody who doesn't interview well or doesn't perform well on the job simply because they aren't very intelligent. I don't know what to tell them. It's not helpful to say "don't get confused so often" or "have better ideas."

      (And I say this freely admitting there are people smart enough to justifiably feel the same way about me.)

    • Re:Hard truth (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AlexOsadzinski (221254) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:25PM (#40346303) Homepage

      Oh man, this is a hard one. I was a VC for almost 8 years, and made a point of giving feedback, because I'd done 6 startups before, and knew how frustrating fundraising can be. There's nothing worse than being turned down (or ignored) with a BS reason, because you can't learn from it.

      If the reason was "I don't understand your space and so can't add value", or "We don't invest in companies at your stage" or "We already have a competitive company in this space", it went down ok with the entrepreneur(s). If it was "I don't have confidence in the market opportunity" or "I think that there's too much risk in your technology (this never applies to software, but often applies to new semiconductors, batteries, alternative energy and the like)", it sometimes annoyed the entrepreneurs.

      But, if the reason was "You're not the right CEO", oh, boy, it usually went badly. The problem was, that was the most common reason.

      Worst of all were the crazy people. #1 on the crazy list are the "lossless compression" types. Even taking them through the math that, of course, no compression scheme can reduce all arbitrary data sets (n bits can only represent 2^n different data sets) had no effect. They also tended to get the most annoyed when I turned them down. #2 was the astonishing number of entrepreneurs who would present business plans showing revenues over the next 4 years of $1M, $10M, $100M and $1B, with >95% profit in that 4th year. Telling them that they simply had no idea about how to run a business also went badly. You could invent matter transmission and not get that kind of profitability.

      There's another reason that VCs don't always give feedback: they don't want to miss the deal if another VC decides to invest. Maybe that other VC sees something unique, or has a plan to replace the not-good CEO, or something else. VCs really hate it when they invest in a company and it all goes to hell, and they lose their investment. They hate it even more if they turn down a deal and someone else makes a fortune on it. Some of the more self-effacing (and hence more likeable) firms will post on their sites a list of the great companies that they turned down. A lot of people turned down Google and Facebook, for example.

      I still think that the best way is to give honest feedback, without being offensive.

      • Worst of all were the crazy people. #1 on the crazy list are the "lossless compression" types. Even taking them through the math that, of course, no compression scheme can reduce all arbitrary data sets (n bits can only represent 2^n different data sets) had no effect. They also tended to get the most annoyed when I turned them down. #2 was the astonishing number of entrepreneurs who would present business plans showing revenues over the next 4 years of $1M, $10M, $100M and $1B, with >95% profit in that 4th year. Telling them that they simply had no idea about how to run a business also went badly. You could invent matter transmission and not get that kind of profitability.

        These are the same people who file patent applications pro se and then freak out when their application gets rejected. They usually call the examiner repeatedly, call the examiner's boss, and generally make a nuisance of themselves, because they're too cheap to invest in the not inexpensive process for appeal the same way they were too cheap to invest in an attorney. When that doesn't work, they take to trolling patent-related forums and the USPTO Facebook page.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Casandro (751346)

          Actually patent attorneys are fairly useless.
          What you need to do is to follow the procedures accurately, even down to stupid things like font sizes and such. Then when it gets rejected, you address the points made in the rejection and re-submit it. It usually simply passes then. If not, the examiner will have raised valid points you need to address again.

          Note that patents usually are worthless. Unless they are illegally broad, it's trivial to work around them. If they are not worked around, they typically a

      • 1) If your universal lossless compression doesn't actually work, we want no part of it; if it does work, you already have enough funding in your personal checking account to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. What would you do if someone showed up asking you to invest in a 50lb bar of 28 carat gold? It's either fake, or the person bearing it is too stupid to live.

        2) Your idea is great, but you simply showed up at the wrong address, not having done your basic due diligence to determine that we're too al

      • ... I feel dumb for asking this, but what's so profitable about lossless compression?
        • by Casandro (751346)

          Well since universal lossless compression could even compress its output, (if it existed) you can suddenly store infinite amounts of data on finite amounts of space for a finite budget. There are many institutions which have to store a lot of data. They could get rid of racks of tapes or harddisks and just use some tiny little storage device for their archive.

          However as pointed out before, something like that is logically impossible. That however doesn't keep stupid people from trying anyhow.
          The current cro

      • Yes, it seems to be a valid idea that companies having the Dunning Kruger effect won't make it. Unfortunately since capitalism is more like a lottery than a way of rewarding effort and tallent, some of those companies actually make it. I have seen companies now celebrating their 15th aniversary which were founded on a patent for a perpetuum mobile. It is now even profitable.

        Still I admire your dedication to try to weed out such companies, as in the long run having such companies around is bad for a society.

    • by sribe (304414)

      You can't fix what you don't know.

      Yes, if you seek VC funding and do not get it, there are only 3 possibilities (and of course combinations):

      1) Your business plan has the problems described and you should figure out how to fix them;

      2) You did not communicate something well enough (management skills, risk mitigation, market potential) and need to figure out how to fix your presentation;

      3) Your idea is not suitable for VC funding, and you need to figure whether and how to proceed without VC funding.

      • You forgot a very important one:

        4) The VC made the wrong call.

        Successful VCs will, on average, make successful investment decisions, but the "on average" really matters. No VC can possibly be an expert in every field that every candidate company works in, and no expert in any interesting, fast-moving field can possibly explain all the intricate details to educate the VC fully within the kind of discussions we're talking about. At some point, it's going to come down to a judgement by the VC of whether the id

        • by sribe (304414)

          You forgot a very important one:

          4) The VC made the wrong call.

          No, I did not forget it. I said "if you seek VC funding and do not get it". No one goes to a single VC, gets turned down, and quits. "If you seek VC funding and do not get it" obviously implies rejection by multiple VCs. If they're all turning you down, then it's some combination of the 3 reasons I listed. If you're think they're all making the wrong call, you're deluding yourself about 1 or more of those 3 reasons.

          • "If you seek VC funding and do not get it" obviously implies rejection by multiple VCs.

            For what it's worth, no, it doesn't. In fact, given the context, I read it exactly as the possible outcomes from meeting one particular VC who then turned you down.

        • by slew (2918)

          I think some people miss a very important point about VC funding. For some business plans, you really need to get it (e.g., for corporate connection reasons if there is no other "exit-plan" for your business). It isn't just about the money. If it is the case you need to get VC money and you can't craft your business plan to attract VC funding, no matter how good your idea might be to your end customers, your business plan is a fail.

          Sure, some VCs get it wrong, but many folks instead blame the VCs instead of

          • I was more thinking in terms of understanding the dynamics and peculiarities of the relevant market. Even if you're very familiar with a particular field, and if you're starting a company to scratch your own itch because you understand why enough other people to form a viable market are going to share that itch, that doesn't necessarily mean that a VC will also see the target market as viable.

            Of course you'll try to explain, within your very limited up-front time, why a certain type of person is going to sh

            • by slew (2918)

              I think you may be overestimating the amount of business plans for novel markets a typical VC will see. Smart people often think alike and see the same potentials and come up with very similar markets to attack. Of course each business plan of attack on a market is often not the same, and therein lies the rub. Just because you think there are enough customers to support your business model doesn't mean you were the only one to see it nor does it mean you have the best way to attack it.

              As someone once sai

  • by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @02:50PM (#40345677)
    The business climate in the US is: old, entrenched businesses fight other old, entrenched businesses in a race for the cheapest shit. New businesses either make no money or bring something to the table that will eventually be bought by the old business. VC money is better spent on patent trolls and companies they can sell for a quick profit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Capitalism at work
      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:28PM (#40345933)

        Crony capitalism at work

        FTFY

        • by turbidostato (878842) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:42PM (#40346035)

          "Crony capitalism at work"

          As if there were any other.

          A good old guy going to business with another good old guy he is confident of.

          Wouldn't you do exactly the same?

          (Yes, it's an aporia: you either answer "yes", making my point, or you answer no, and then I'd say "that's why you are not a millionarie in the position of becoming a VC").

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            I don't think that quite fits. A VC isn't going to fund "another good old guy"; the other "good old guys" already are running big companies, and don't need VC funding. The whole point of VC is to fund risky start-ups, which are usually being run by younger guys, not anyone established; that's why they're risky, but also why they have big potential.

            Here's an article [wikipedia.org] for you to read about crony capitalism. It's not about established businesses at all; it's about businesses getting special favors from gover

            • It's not about established businesses at all; it's about businesses getting special favors from government, which tilts the "playing field" in their favor against smaller competitors that aren't getting special treatment by the government.

              Except you're making a false distinction between "government" and "other established businessmen." Do you know who all those Representatives, Senators, and assorted top-level appointed bureaucrats are? The same people running the companies. Saying they're getting special favors from the government, while true, obscures the reality: they're getting special favors from each other, masked by the false legitimacy of government. OP was spot on.

              • by Fjandr (66656)

                I believe the point actually being contended originally was the assertion that there is no form of capitalistic business apart from crony capitalism.

                There most certainly are, they are usually just limited to being in small players in big markets or big players in small markets. Once you reach a certain level it requires having gobs of money in order to maintain independence from crony networks, making it much more rare. Yes, you can make gobs of money without being close friends with your local mafia offici

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:12PM (#40346213)

      The business climate in the US is: old, entrenched businesses fight other old, entrenched businesses in a race for the cheapest shit.

      Which is, of course, why young/rejuvenated companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have never made any money and are just looking to get bought out by older and more entrenched players like Microsoft, Yahoo and IBM.

  • by bmacs27 (1314285) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @02:51PM (#40345689)
    So did all of the greats. They were just passionate about something. If all of these business majors want us to start creating jobs, maybe they should go back to keeping the books, or at least teaching us to keep the books, like they did in the golden days.
    • Re:So did Steve Jobs (Score:5, Informative)

      by slew (2918) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @08:05PM (#40347847)

      You may not believe this, but Steve Jobs's wasn't the first or even the second CEO of apple computer.

      In fact, the man behind the initial venture capital foray of Apple was Mike Markkula (who served as the CEO). He was an initial angel investor who was referred to Mr Jobs by a few other VCs. Mike provided the "adult" supervision to Jobs and Wozniak during the fund raising part of company's existance. Initally, Mike hired Michael Scott (from either national semiconductor or fairchild, I forgot which one) as the first CEO. It was only later after some turmoil that Mike took over the CEO position and then yielded the CEO position to Jobs (and later supported Sculley which led to Jobs' departure, and then helped lure Jobs back).

      So even Mr Job's didn't just walk into VC offices and get funded as the CEO of the company. But, Jobs was smart enough and passionate enough about doing the work that was able to put his ego enough in check to know that in order to get the money they needed to get it done. I believe that the Google story is very similar with Eric Schmidt performing the "adult" supervison...

      • by bmacs27 (1314285)
        That was sort of my point. The VC found the businesspeople, and the talent made it happen. These days they want you to walk in with talent and a Rolodex. The fact is they aren't often overlapping skill sets, and the different kinds of people don't usually run in the same circles.
  • by johnny cashed (590023) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @02:52PM (#40345691) Homepage
    If the reason is lack of leadership skills/experience and a weak team. If they had those qualities, they might not need to go seeking a VC for help. On the other hand, sounds like a catch all for VC rejection.
    • If they had those qualities, they might not need to go seeking a VC for help.

      Just because you have the skills to run a business and create something profitable doesn't mean you have the money to start it up. Perhaps you've heard of this company called Google - started with a $25 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

      • Re:Not surprised. (Score:5, Informative)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:10PM (#40345807)

        Perhaps you've heard of this company called Google - started with a $25 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

        No. Google had been around for years, and had a solid track record by the time VCs got interested. They did get angel funding of $100K earlier, but even that was after they had been up and running for over a year.

        • They still got venture capital funding. The point remains the same.

          • Re:Not surprised. (Score:4, Informative)

            by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:44PM (#40346041)
            A venture capitalist is typically distinct from an angel investor. Angels typically are individuals who invest in very early companies and take on very high risk. VCs are typically institutional investors who invest at later stages at higher capital levels. They also take on risk but not ask much as an angel investor.
            • by AuMatar (183847)

              Doesn't matter for the GP's point. They still needed outside money, because despite having the ideas and skill to implement it, they didn't have the capital needed to do so. Most business starters don't, if they need to hire any employees at all. Salaries are expensive.

        • by swillden (191260)

          Perhaps you've heard of this company called Google - started with a $25 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

          No. Google had been around for years, and had a solid track record by the time VCs got interested. They did get angel funding of $100K earlier, but even that was after they had been up and running for over a year.

          Not really relevant, but interesting, IMO: Google had an even earlier investor -- Stanford University. Their biggest early operating expense would have been their Internet connection, but they used Stanford's. They also used their university contacts to scrounge a lot of hardware, and put it all in Sergey's dorm room. Google search actually got big enough that it was straining Stanford's network and Stanford's IT department was already fielding complaints from businesses who were unhappy about their sea

      • "Just because you have the skills to run a business and create something profitable doesn't mean you have the money to start it up."

        Just because you have the skills to run a business and create something profitable doesn't mean you have the curriculum to show it up to a VC.

        The point is: I value very positively this guy being honest but the message is clear: if you are not already one of us, you won't get the money to become one of us.

    • by makomk (752139)

      Sounds like a vague reason for VC rejection that can encompass all sorts of prejudices. For instance, I wonder how often it really means "he doesn't have the right skin colour for leadership" or "she doesn't have the right gender for leadership" - and the VCs wouldn't even necessarily realise that was the reason, because pretty much everyone is awful at spotting their own cognitive biases. This is especially true when there are so many convenient ways to rationalize their decisions.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Exactly, this is true to almost all startups.

  • Toughen Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @02:55PM (#40345713)

    Would you rather hear the hard truth about why your startup didn't get funded or some vague dismissal?

    If you can't handle hearing the cold, hard truth then you are in the wrong line of business. Period.

    • It could be that your startup is about graphology, phrenology, astrology, or even homeopathy. In which case the "cold hard truth" would be the wrong line ;).

      Just kidding.
  • by Schezar (249629) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @02:56PM (#40345719) Homepage Journal

    Ideas are worthless. We have great ideas all the time (or at least, ideas we think are great). The value of a business proposal isn't in the idea, it's in the execution of the idea.

    The most important things to a serious VC when it comes to a startup have almost nothing to do with the idea itself. You don't have to convince them of the idea: they've probably heard it before already. You're trying to convince them that YOU are the one to EXECUTE that idea, and that you can do it better than anyone else. If you can't, then the'll fund that other person instead.

    When you approach a VC, the only thing you bring to the table is your ability to execute the plan you've proposed.

    • "When you approach a VC, the only thing you bring to the table is your ability to execute the plan you've proposed."

      Maybe, but that's not what this news is about.

      Is about "when you approach a VC, the only thing you bring to the table is your past record".

      No wonder how high a percentage of founded start ups come from previous board of directors members (and how, in fact, so many previous board of directors members parasite new enterprises -so you can reach the VCs).

    • Ideas are worthless.

      Nonsense. That's just Silicon Valley start-up wishful thinking, usually parroted by people who haven't had a really good big idea yet and think that because they are awesomely elite hackers and greedy they will make millions from the next mobile social networking gimmick that is slightly different from the last mobile social networking gimmick. These are the same kind of people who think "I've started three failed companies!" is a badge of honour.

      Of course the execution matters. No-one is disputing that. A

  • Then it's not VC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by donaggie03 (769758) <d_osmeyer@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:09PM (#40345801)
    If you want a strong experienced team with great leadership, then you aren't a venture capitalist. You're an investor.
    • Re:Then it's not VC (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:52PM (#40346091)

      You've created a false dichotomy where there is none. Venture capital is a form of investment, it merely tends to be higher risk and higher reward than the general case. Just because they're willing to accept higher risk does not mean that they're fools interested in squandering their money on worthless endeavors that have no hope. It's still an investment, and they still want to see a return on it.

      While "venture capitalist" wasn't the correct term, we do have a term for people who don't insist on strong leadership before investing: fool. And you know what they say about fools and their money...

  • by alen (225700) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:14PM (#40345833)

    In the 90's people were getting funded to build a website and a forum

    Today it's the same thing except its called social media. Seems like every other idea I read about is a Facebook/pinterest/instagram clone

    Unless you have a cool idea that solves some kind of problem like square or one of the other payment startups go back and think up of something new

    • by dcollins (135727)

      For what it's worth, the VC in TFA seems to say the opposite. The quality of the idea is not discussed; it's whether you're fidgeting in your chair when you present it.

      • Fidgeting in your chair should be a pretty strong positive signal. Michael Dell came to my Austin boarding school for career night back when he was only worth about $20M. The man simply could not sit still. He fidgeted like a whole third grade class. (He also gave a presentation on managing growth that was not all that useful to anybody there. We need to know how to have some growth before we can manage it.) Steven Weinberg's talk the same night wasn't all that much more helpful, something about how the ma

  • by Greyfox (87712)
    If I beat this Klingon in a fight, THEN will you give me ten million dollars?
    • No. VCs invest in virtual crap because no one can tell how much can be sold to suckers, and therefore the hype can claim the market is infinite. Real crap has only got a limited market, no matter how big the market, even a fool can see there is a limit.

      VCs are looking for something they can hype to the stratosphere and then sell through brokers on a percentage who need plausible deniability to protect their asses when the shit hits the fan.

      This is the nature of Ponzi land.

      • by Greyfox (87712)
        I was thinking more from the perspective of "You and your team are weak!" Which seems very much like something a Klingon would say...
  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @03:33PM (#40345961)
    Slashdot loves making fun of management, marketers, financial people, MBAs, and pretty much every business unit that is not R&D and engineering, but these people are essential to making a business successful. Startups are generally comprised entirely of engineer types who may have amazing technical know-how, but they don't know how to sell their product, they don't know how to manage money, they don't know how how to manage a company and personnel, and they don't have any business experience.

    Anyone whose ever managed a business will tell you it takes much more than a good idea to make a business successful: it's 10% idea, 90% execution. Thus, if you go to a VC with nothing but a good idea, you're falling 90% short.
    • Slashdot loves making fun of management, marketers, financial people, MBAs, and pretty much every business unit that is not R&D and engineering, but these people are essential to making a business successful.

      Good management and good marketing is essential to making a business successful, absolutely. The problem is that the average manager or marketing person in the industry is anything but good.

      You can point out that the average programmer isn't all that good, either, and you'll be right. There is an important difference, though. Where engineers run the show, it tends to be a pretty hardcore meritocracy - a lot of character flaws can be forgiven, but not technical incompetency. So the people who rise to the to

  • "Would you rather hear the hard truth about why your startup didn't get funded or some vague dismissal?"

    Only a complete idiot would prefer a vague dismissal. If you know what's wrong you can fix it and move ahead. If you hear that the idea is great but the team is wrong, you can fix the team.

  • ... In East San Jose. The night before the humble owner of the place had bought a ticket on his own Ca Lottery machine. He won $34 million. The VCs each say "Take my deal. Here's millions of dollars... You're our guy... Your're EXPERIENCED!"
  • To be really useful, VCs should respond with a decision tree:

    Like/don't like concept
    If don't like, done
    If like
    Like/don't like balance of package
    If like, here is an offer
    If don't like, here are areas of deficiency
    Areas of deficiency overwhelming, done
    Areas of deficiency require remediation as follows: xxx

    • Your decision tree, dear poster - is BROKEN!

      What MONTH is ddyy which they need to have the fix submitted?

      "Conditional offer based on fixing xxx by ddyy date to our satisfaction." ;-)

  • by slazzy (864185) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:27PM (#40346315) Homepage
    I really appreciated his feedback on my recent venture idea pitched to them: Step 1: Gather underpants
    Step 2: ...
    Step 3: Profit!
    Apparently I need to figure out step 2...
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @04:53PM (#40346477) Homepage

    If I don't know what's wrong, I can't fix it. A vague dismissal doesn't help me improve things. And I'd posit that it doesn't help the VC either. VCs don't themselves come up with startup ideas, or they'd be doing that startup instead of looking for startups to fund. Where do they think the startups they can fund will come from? The more marginal ones take the feedback and use it to improve their plan, the more good opportunities the VCs will have to choose from.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      VCs don't themselves come up with startup ideas, or they'd be doing that startup instead of looking for startups to fund.

      No, because funding startups means you can try several in parallel while starting them yourself limits you to one at a time. Most startups fail, so you need to go through a lot of them to get a succesful one.

      And of course working yourself is a lot harder than just investing.

  • My only experience is running a small town convenient store.

    I've long been under the impression that someone needs to take the Moneyball approach to venture capitalists, because what they seem to sell as a model they are looking for doesn't jive with the success stories that I'm familiar with (e.g. Wal-Mart, HP, Apple, Microsoft, etc.).

  • 1) If you can't stand the hard truth, then it's probably better that you were stopped before you got your feelings hurt in the world of business.

    2) You cannot fix what you don't know is wrong. (c) Scott Summers - Motto.

    If you are told "Denied, due to weak team leadership" - guess what?

    You can BRING IN QUALITY LEADERSHIP, and not only strengthen your bid, but increase your chances for success in business. Yes, it might hurt your ego a bit - however what is more important? Ego, or making your dream into th

  • The VCs never want to tell you what they're looking for because, just like the banks used to do with secret credit ratings, they're afraid you might tailor your message to woo them. Back in the DotCom days when my boss was trying to expand the company, he could never get funding to expand in spite of owning a very profitable business. What he'd hear by milking the underlings, off to the side of meetings, was that something about his pitch made them think he was merely trying to sell the company.

    I don't th

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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