Top 10 List: How the Best Entrepreneurs & Founders Interact with Venture Capital Firms
Mark Peter Davis
November 30, 2021
While the following list is not complete, perfect or without exception, these ten rules should serve as strong guidelines for entrepreneurs who want to create enduring relationships with VCs.
Only contact VCs who invest in your type of company (e.g., sector, stage, etc.): Living by this rule will save you time and prevent you from looking clueless.
Be honest about your intentions: I’m a firm believer that the best approach to business is the honest one. Be up front with your potential investors about your expectations, needs and level of interest in them.
Be patient with VCs: VCs are extremely busy and therefore your patience with them is appreciated. No, this isn’t a cry for pity — it’s just the nature of the job. While a busy schedule isn’t an excuse (in my opinion) for not responding to appropriate emails, it does suggest that a bit more patience than average is warranted.
Actively share information: It is important to maintain momentum with investors to keep them interested. In order to do this you should openly provide information (you are comfortable disclosing) about your company and respond quickly to requests.
Do not take rejection personally: There are a lot of reasons why you might not receive funding from a VC — some of which are entirely unrelated to your company. As a result, you shouldn’t take it personally. Don’t let a rejection affect your ego.
Do not harass VCs (they’re people too): Enough said.
Focus on the success of the company; check your ego at the door: This point should work both ways; both VCs and entrepreneurs should focus on making decisions that maximize shareholder value.
Be open to feedback and new ideas: Enough said.
Do not sully the reputation of a VC simply because you did not like their decision: Bad karma has a way of making its way back to its creator. It’s a small world and VCs talk to each other. Seeking undue vengeance can create challenges for entrepreneurs in their current and future fundraising efforts.
Build relationships with VCs: It seems to me that the greatest entrepreneurs are capable of getting past the business side of the relationship with a VC and engaging them on a more personal level. Developing a personal relationship with a VC can make the fundraising process significantly easier and more enjoyable.