I’m not an investor. I’ve never invested as much as a penny in any company other than my own. I have raised money from investors though, which I’ve spoken about in “What I’d Really Like to Say to Investors.”
It only seemed fair that I balance out the negativity by sharing my thoughts on the stupid things founders say. Plus, someone on Twitter asked how I would respond if I was given $100,000 to invest in a company.
Not sure how I would respond, but at the very least, I could sniff out the bullshit.
Here are the things that founders say to investors that are complete BS:
- “I’m not looking for money, just your feedback.” Translation: I heard this tactic works for getting meetings.
- “My cofounder turned down a job at Google to focus on our company.” Translation: He applied for an internship a while back and it fell through.
- “I had a successful exit with my first business.” Translation: I sold my lawn mowing clients to a friend on a commission.
- “We’re being selective on the investors we let into this round.” Translation: We’re taking every intro we can get, which isn’t many.
- “We’re taking our time to make sure we find the right partners for this round.” Translation: Finding people to invest has been a bitch.
- “We’re seeing 20 percent month-over-month growth.” Translation: Last month we had 10 email sign-ups, this month we have 12.
- “Our growth has been all organic.” Translation: Our friends are using it.
- “We felt we were too far along to join an accelerator.” Translation: YC rejected us — twice.
- “We’re raising money to scale quickly.” Translation: We want to finally pay ourselves.
- “Our competition is too big and slow to come after us.” Translation: The market size isn’t significant enough for them to care.
- “Customer service is what sets us apart.” Translation: We just installed a free version of Olark.
- “We’re launching public beta next week.” Translation: Should be two or three more months.
- “We plan to stay in beta for the next 12 months” – Translation: We’re not sure how long our shoddy codebase will hold up, beta is a good excuse.
- “We want to create a very minimalist design.” – Translation: We’re not designers and can’t afford to hire a decent one.
- “We’ve gotten outstanding feedback from our users.” Translation: Our friends think it’s awesome.
- “We’re about to blow up.” Translation: We hope one of our blog posts hits big on Hacker News.
- “This is a $50 billion per year untapped market.” Translation: I heard this tactic works for getting investors.
For the record, I’m guilty of all of the above.