Tell me why VCs are so disliked by entrepreneurs
You have to listen to your audience right ? I would like entrepreneurs to help me understand what it is about VC’s that irks them and what behaviour they have witnessed that makes them a poor development partner.
One of my (blunter) posts was recently reposted on Silicon Alley and generated some aggressive commentary, some of which seemed to stem from people who actually had extensive experience in building succesful companies and had built a really deep sense of, how shall I put it, hatred for the VC community in general. Not just sour grapes from losers then… (that was joke, I feel I have to highlight them these days).
Now I am not a naive newcomer who thinks money grows on trees or that all VCs are really nice guys just trying hard. In fact a fair portion of my industry irks me too. I have done my fair share of screwups (typically saying no too late and dropping some balls). I also recognise that the fabric of some deals (e.g. raise a ton of dilution-protected money at high prices on inflated expectations) fundamentally lays the foundation for some serious investor – entrepreneur fallout when the market turns (as has been happening this year and nasty washout rounds come into play). And if I was the founder of, say, Glowria, effectively robbed of my company, I would not be feeling any love for my brethren right now…
But going beyond that, there seems to be something broken in the entrepreneur-VC relationship even though both parties should want the same outcome (to build a great business), even though no one does this (purely) for money but in large part because of the pleasure derived from working with innovation and creating successes, and even though long-term reputation matters.
What is going on ?
I would love for people to share their views back to me in complete anonymity to my fdestin at gmail account. I will summarise, edit, keep the warts and spew back. I want precise, actionable items, the more detail the better (legal clauses, board behaviour, issues experienced by the commentator) as well the softer qualitative aspect of what makes the relationship fall down. It would be helpful to understand what kind of VC you were dealing with (big name firm, regional fund, VCT or FCPI or other tax enhanced etc).
I have received the first few answers and am discovering some completely new aspects…