A lot of first-time entrepreneurs scrutinize the web-o-sphere and the blogs of folks wiser than I like Fred Wilson and Mark Suster for advice on how to come up with the perfect pitch to VCs, but they miss the most basic truth: VCs are people too, and people are all about relationships. So, in honor of February 14, Valentine's Day, I've put together a list of 14 ways VC fundraising is like that oldest of human relationships: dating (or love, if you want to get all historical on me):*
- You start with coffee.
- There are lots of "dates."
- If you're not interested you try to let the other side down gently - "I don't want to lead you on."
- The side that starts off aloof can be the side that ends up falling in love - and the one that gets its heart broken.
- Begging the other side to give things another chance rarely works.
- You can't reason your way into a relationship (aka He's Just Not That Into You)
- There may be numbers involved but ultimately it's based on a feeling.
- Timing is everything - "This just isn't the right time for me to get into a relationship."
- "You remind me of an ex" (another company/investor that left a bad taste).
- It's not about one side choosing the other but about both sides finding the right match.
- You hope it's about more than the money.
- The holy grail is a true partnership.
- When the relationship is ready to be consummated there is paperwork to sign.
- Moving too fast often produces bad results.
Happy Valentine's Day!
* Please have a sense of humor when reading these. They were written to play off of well-known stereotypes about dating rather than any opinion of how dating should be.