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How to pickup an entrepreneur

Guy Kawasaki has a great post on the Sun Microsystems blog concerning how entrepreneurs can pickup VCs.

Since we’re closing our Series B round, I thought I would provide my counter on how VCs can pickup entrepreneurs:

1. Investor:  Does not respond to an email or voicemail from the entrepreneur.  Entrepreneur:  has
a long memory and will not forget that — very likely that firm wont be on the list to contact for the
next round or the entrepreneur’s next company. 
2. Investor:  Provides clear and honest feedback (good or bad) about the company and its investment prospects.  Entrepreneur:  Appreciates the feedback and the detail and will want to build a relationship with that partner or firm.
3.  Investor says:  "I love you (the CEO) but not your business, why don’t you work on one of my companies and/or I’ll fund your next one."  Entrepreneur thinks: "How tacky.  Just say "yes" or "no" but don’t try to turn the investment discussion into a recruiting session."
4.  Investor:  Provides quick feedback within 48 hours.  Entrepreneur:  respects the feedback (good or bad) and appreciates the timeliness– no one’s time is wasted. 
5. Investor: continues to stay in constant communication with entrepreneurs that he/she likes.  Entrepreneur:  Will clearly appreciate this and will want to talk to him/her.

This isn’t rocket science.  Its about building relationships.  We entrepreneurs have long memories and if we’re treated fairly, we will remember and will want to work with you.  I have personally found that the best VCs are the ones that do this.  They no that startups are hard.  They also know that dud ideas today could be tomorrow’s Google.


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