What I’d Really Like to Say to Investors

I tend to find the whole fundraising process to be quite annoying. If I never had to raise money again, I’d be one happy entrepreneur. From start to finish, it seems to be a game of who can bullshit who better.

If I were playing the game straight-up, this is what I’d really like to say to investors:

  • This “deck” is just a Powerpoint with a trendy name. I want you to know that I’m not green, so I’m going to use your terminology as much as it kills me inside.
  • 90% of what you see in this “deck” is complete bullshit. I literally made it up.
  • Our growth chart is snapshot of our best week. I’ve truncated all of our data to make it look like a vertical line.
  • I spent way more time than I should have begging the press to write about us, just to impress you. That growth chart was the week we were in TechCrunch.
  • Aren’t our clients impressive? We convinced them to participate by giving away the farm, just to make fundraising easier. Sounds logical, right?
  • While we’re raising money, we’re making no significant progress with the business.
  • I’m supposed to say I want an investor to be a partner that brings more than money, but really, I just want the money. I could care less about your feedback.
  • Actually, that’s not true. In addition to the money, I’d like you to help me get more money.
  • I want popular investors to invest, because I know the sheep will follow. Plus, their tweets are part of our growth strategy.
  • “What’s our timeline on the round?” Seriously? Today.
  • We need a decision quickly because we may close any day. This is false urgency I’m creating. You know that and I know that you know that. Can you just give me an answer so we don’t have to play charades?
  • I’m not going to tell you who else is in this round unless it’s someone worth mentioning. I know that if nobody impresses you, you’ll lose interest. Why would I fall into this trap? I feel less of you for asking this question. Be a leader for fucks sake.
  • We’re 80% committed. This is always inflated by at least 50%. Truth is, who knows.
  • These terms and valuation are completely made up. I looked it up online and went with what everyone else said was a good place to start.
  • I don’t understand a majority of the terminology, so please don’t ask me any questions about it.
  • Let’s be honest, if we get an offer for $10 million, we’ll probably sell.
  • If today, we had the revenue you’d like to see, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. It’s as simple as that.
  • Also, we’re raising money to be relevant. Sad truth.

Wouldn’t it be a better world if we could all just say what we were really thinking? 

Comments

  1. Bootstrap FTW.

  2. Best post on the site this far. The irony is that if you play the game the odds are better in raising money. The downside, if your hockey stick turns over you are in a world of pain.

  3. I love it! AND I hate bullshit! We are getting closer to going out and raising money. I definitely plan on being honest and bullshit free like above – at least during the first pitch or two :) As I see it there are two possible outcomes:

    1) Investor finds it refreshing and different, like that quote from Ted – “Nobody’s ever talked to me that way! You’re hired”, and we get funding.

    2) They don’t like it and we don’t get funding and revert to bullshit for pitch #3

    Either way, should be fun.

  4. +1 for “I want popular investors to invest, because I know the sheep will follow. Plus, their tweets are part of our growth strategy”. LOL

    And AMEN to “Be a leader for fucks sake”. I cannot count how many times I’ve conversed with some supposedly-bigshot VC, only to realize they’re sheep! Not as knowledgeable and definitely not as forward or contrarian as they like to appear…

    • It’s because they’re all so afraid of making the wrong bets that they wait to see what’s hot before they commit. You have to keep in mind that VCs are playing with other peoples money. If their fund loses money, then the rich people that they grovel to will no longer invest with them. So, that’s why they ask if some other big name VC is investing in the round because they feel like if other major VCs are into it then it must be a good idea.

      Anyone pitching some photo or messaging app right now has a much better chance of getting funded than someone who is coming up with an original idea in a different space, because of the success of WhatsApp and Snapchat; VCs think that they can succeed by throwing money at companies that are clones or slight variations of previously successful companies.

  5. +1

  6. Brilliant!

  7. My startups have raised tens of millions from investors, all east and west coast groups. Few professional investors these days know much useful to building a business except what’s trending, which is too late. Investors years ago were more operational folks who made big bets on great people and ideas at the earliest stages. Now most of them have never built a company and therefore can only play the odds after the de-risking is done by our blood sweat and tears. If we’re playing the game, then we’re perpetuating this problem and we live with that karma. I learned this the hard way. I know, I know, it’s hard and the money is needed NOW. Let’s stand for a shift in consciousness and in the mean time look for the ones that talk straight, built stuff, and care. They are out there… but it takes digging.

  8. This should be the weekly post on PandoDaily. It’s awesome because it’s so true and also funny!

  9. Ok you will likely slaughter me for this… but I believe that this is one reason why women receive less financing. They are worse at confidently bullshitting.

    • I think it’s probably contributing. Although it’s been shown that identical presentations by women get funded with 40% less probability, I think women might give the same presentation with less confidence, if it’s BS. But it’s not just confidence either.

      • I don’t think this is a controversial statement. Women have been shown to experience impostor syndrome to a greater degree than men for a variety of reasons.

  10. I agree with everything said in your post having successfully raised and these two really pissed me off:

    “I’m not going to tell you who else is in this round unless it’s someone worth mentioning. I know that if nobody impresses you, you’ll lose interest. Why would I fall into this trap? I feel less of you for asking this question. Be a leader for fucks sake.”

    “If today, we had the revenue you’d like to see, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. It’s as simple as that.”

    I raised a large seed round and a thankfully not to many people did this but some did. They wanted all unit economics worked out, massive run-rate and didn’t want to be even close to first money in. I can’t fault them for looking to pick winners with awesome traction. But with that said, I can’t help but think A) They need to grow a pair or just say they don’t do “seed” B) They must think people are stupid because if they have all of that, they shouldn’t be giving away equity – unless the relationships in their case do matter more than money.

  11. I “hired” this director of marketing, short skirt, blond, and sexy just for this pitch. Why? So you can fap while I talk and get your money.

  12. Honesty and integrity, for the win.

    • Hands down – favorite post – too many of us look to investors as some sort of validation. Revenue is validation – they are just money – talking $ signs.

  13. I am impressed. Wrote the True thing…

  14. Without BS no chance of seeing $$$…it’s a show off time and you better play well. what happens afterwards, when they find out the facts and real picture of your company, good luck buddy… VCs are not going to sit there and wait for another round of your BS.

    It’s all the lottery at the end of the day…for you and for VCs too.

  15. “you ve been fooled, but I need your $$$$”

Trackbacks

Comment

Comments support Markdown formatting. URLs will be autotomatically linked.

Current ye@r *

There is only one simple rule: Don't be a troll.

Subscribe

Want to be notified when new stories and questions are posted? We thought you might.