Liquidation Preferences

The art of saying NO

Sorry this is going to be a bit of a rant.  Why is it that so many Venture Capital investors who are astute business people have failed to go on the training course on the fine art of saying no with style.  I have been VC fund raising for a couple of clients recently,  and as you would expect have had some declines along the way.

Here are some of the generic styles (no names to protect the innocent and not so innocent) .

  1. The "doesn't fit our investment criteria" decline.  Delivered by email usually so there is absolutely no idea why not.  Still no arguing with that.
  2. The email with various reasons for decline, none of which make any sense in the context of the proposal you have sent them....this guy hasn't read it.
  3. The "Doesn't even bother to decline or acknowledge until someone chases you"  decline.
  4. The VC who calls you, thanks you for letting him see the proposal, but explains why it's not for them.   This guy has been to the VC charm school and is worth getting to know.

Not every proposal gets funded of course, but we'd love them all the more if they could respond with Decline Style 4 or at a pinch Style 1.   

As for the long periods in between when one hears nothing............"your proposal is held in a queue and may or may not be looked at eventually"..........maybe I lack the patience for this game, but we are all quite ready to complain about being held in a queue as consumers, why should the interaction with the Venture Capital community be any different?


Ian Grove-Stephensen

A 5th category is "I simply don't have the mental capacity to comprehend your idea so I'm going to blame you instead." You will well remember being told by one potential funding source (not a VC admitedly) that essay automarking was immoral. We really should have restricted ourselves to showing that guy the builders' merchant business plan.

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