The Right Entrepreneur for a VC

Posted by Pierre de la Fortune on May 12, 2015 @ 12:01 a.m.

Written by Amanda Frazier

I’m still in the process of launching my start ups..although I’ve done smaller scale businesses before. Recently, I had the opportunity to not only talk to venture capitalists for the first time in my life…but they actually talked to me for hours. I found they were more than willing to tell me how they really thought, what mistakes Entrepreneurs make, and why you’re not getting start up cash from them. Because I was discussing my own deals with them, and I’m not the media, I got a personal look into what it really takes to partner with a venture capitalist.

Investor #1, we’ll call him Pete for confidentiality’s sake. Pete is from a large venture capital firm in Boston. They’ve been responsible for a growing number of acquisitions, as well as seed stage venture capital deals. Here is what Pete said is his golden rules:

Do I Like You?

Thankfully, Pete liked me and my partner. And..we liked him as well. Basically, Pete put it to me like this: If I don’t like you, why would I invest in you? It doesn’t matter how good your idea is.

Which leads me to believe as I always have: the relationship is the most important aspect of the deal for a venture capitalist. A relationship includes liking one another, and being able to listen to each other. Which leads me to what Venture Capitalist Pete said was #2…

Do You Listen?

Pete said, and I quote, “I need to know you’ll listen to me. I have made more mistakes than you. Let me help you avoid those mistakes with my experience.” I don’t know about you other Entrepreneurs…but I’d rather listen to a venture capitalist who’s been around the block, then trust what I have yet to experience.

On to Investor #2. We’ll call him “Bob”.

Bob took alot more personal approach and wanted to know about our dreams and goals. He also stated it’s the people that he cares about, the idea is only half of it.

When I asked Bob the Venture Capitalist what mistakes Entrepreneurs make, they were mostly people oriented as well:

First Mistake Entrepreneurs Make

They’re the wrong person. Again, this goes back to what Pete the Venture Capitalist said. The “wrong” person consists of someone who you don’t like, and who won’t listen.

Second Mistake Entrepreneurs Make

They may be the right person, but they’re committed to the wrong people. Bob the Venture Capitalist said you’d be amazed at how many Entrepreneurs have their mother in law as their CFO, and their cousin is the CoFounder. “Crossing too many family boundaries”, is what Bob said. Entrepreneurs need to figure out how to build a real start up team without spending money on salaries.

It’s ironic how before I was always taught to focus on the details, and I was never taught that “all you had to do was focus on yourself”. When really, that’s what makes (or breaks) the final decision!

*So just a side note of caution on this…this post was written to show Entrepreneurs that a large portion of the deal is really about them. It’s still very and just as equally important to have a solid deal & concept, but what these VCs are saying is that even if you have quarks in your plan or background…they can work with you if you are the right person.* For more info please visit: http://cashtostart.com/venture-capitalist-want-right-entrepreneurs/

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