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December 09, 2006

Oh Come All Ye Associates


Check out this great article in the San Jose Mercury News entitled “Venture Capitalists Switch to Startups—Many Are Surprised By Type of Work.”

My two favorite lines from the story are:

“I had no idea of the number of details that I’d have to deal with every day...”

“I used to sit and nod and think I could fake my way through another meeting with someone...”

The VCAT would prevent such surprises.


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Sadly, this article reaffirms my personal observation of VCs from both coasts. As an entrepreneur and angel for several startups, I choose my angels and VCs based on their operating experience so they'll actually add value during meetings instead of just a face for "network of firms and funds".

Am I reading that article right, $60M raised from VC's for an online marketing firm? This from a guy who wonders what kind of chairs to order for his company. I can tell him the right choice is folding chairs with a high-end, $40 folding table. $4M for a blog search firm? What are they spending this money on?
I've started and ran two companies, and am in the process of getting my third up as I write this. Only one of them required I beg for VC money, and they didn't really seem to have any experience.
Some famous guy once wrote that we should be patient for growth but impatient for profit. Thanks, Guy, for your past couple of blogs on the VC world's less perfect side. :)

Neil McDonnell, SFTen Consulting

I agree with Shefaly's comment about the importance of one being supported by their significant other. Entrepreneurship is intense and my experience with entrepreneurial ventures is that it requires enormous human energy to structure the chaos of nothingness that one wishes to transform into a successful business.

About the article, I find it so striking that the people who are active in venture investment funds are sometimes so remote from the actual realities of entrepreneurship. That's one of the reasons why I liked the VCAT (my score was 33, but I will not write to 2000 VC firms because I just love what I am doing now and see no reason to join a VC firm).

My favourite line: "Striking out on my own actually ended a relationship with someone ... You'd have thought I was opening a lemonade stand.''

Very revealing about how a line of work seen as a mark of 'having arrived' (VC) versus a line of work seen as a 'am getting there' (entrepreneurship) will attract different types of people to a potential relationship.

If an entrepreneur has a partner/ significant other, it has to be a person who understands and supports the entrepreneur while (s)he realises his/ her dream. Else the entrepreneur can probably do without the distraction.

Of course the VCAT does not address this 'soft' issue.

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