Venture Capital

An Unpopular Opinion from Startup Founders

Can you stomach it?

Being a founder or early-stage startup employee, you will always be faced with barriers, lack of interest, being brushed off/dismissed while raising money, asking for feedback, doing prospecting, and every other core business function. We see many founders write long, detailed ‘open letters’ to the groups responsible for giving these types of responses, and a lot of the time, it is very much needed. 

For every piece of founder“revenge porn” posted on Linkedin of the rejection emails received by investors, only for the founder to go ahead and raise hundreds of millions a few years later, there are thousands of failed startups with unexciting ideas with an overinflated belief in their abilities, assuming that any investor will give them the world and then some. The venture capital investors have a job and they do it very well, sticking to a specific investment thesis and not wavering on it even if it means they could very well miss a deca-corn in their lifetime as an investor. 

Many founders emailing investors with a pitch deck do so in a shotgun approach, sending out the same canned email message to a list they scraped from Crunchbase, only to expect a successful seed round to land in their lap. The reality is, hundreds of these emails come through every month, and if you aren’t putting in the work to specify why the firm is a good fit, why you’re raising the amount of money you are, and how you plan to grow with that firm’s expertise and dollars, why shouldn’t they provide the same courtesy of ignoring it all together, or sending a canned denial email in return? If there is effort, personalization, and a fit within the investor thesis, even if it doesn’t turn out to be ‘yes’, they are much more likely to tell you why, point you in the direction of their buddy at another firm, or even some off the record advice on how to position the startup better. 

The mantra always being thrown around is ‘provide value’ upfront, and everything else will take care of itself, so long as you have an unrelenting work ethic, solid idea, and a semi-capable skillset. 

In summary, don’t be mad when you are faced with adversity in growing your startup. Being denied, ignored, and even laughed at are all signs you are on the right path - and can be considered divine redirection into putting effort into the true needle movers. 

Keep pushing forward.

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