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August 20, 2007

Why are VCs arrogant?

In a posting on the rising popularity of VC Rating site thefunded.com, Jeff Bussgang explains why.
Why are VCs often arrogant? Is that what they teach us at VC breeding schools? I think some of it is just the nature of the business. As I mentioned in my post “Dr. Seuss and The Land of No”, VCs have the job of saying “no” hundreds of times for every “yes” that they fund. To be efficient, they are trained to say “no” quickly and not waste time on projects they simply don’t like or don’t believe in. Whether you believe in a project or not is such a subjective standard, that it can always be open for debate and argument. But VCs can’t afford to have debates and arguments about projects they don’t like, they must quickly, unemotionally move on to the next one.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are emotionally attached to their projects and wired to believe that what they are working on is the absolute best thing going on – after all, they chose to work on it at the expense of every other new start-up or job they could have pursued. Thus, it is hard for them to contain their natural enthusiasm over why what they’re doing absolutely deserves to get funded. And nothing is more frustrating for a “walk through walls” entrepreneur than to be dismissed by a VC, no matter how graciously.


His solution?
The trick, therefore, is for VCs to simply treat entrepreneurs with R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s all entrepreneurs are askin’ for. Just because a VC may not like the idea, or even the person hawking the idea, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t treat them with decency and respect. On the flip side, the entrepreneurs should remember that it’s the VCs job to sift through hundreds of opportunities and spend time only on very few. If it’s not a good fit for them, move on. That’s why TheFunded has struck a chord.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.