Posted by Mr Smith on 2008-02-21
Over the years, I have heard many VCs say that "the market is not large enough" in the first or second meeting. New entrepreneurs should know that this means "no."
Pocket edition of "Theoretical Future Market Values through 2020 - 3rd Edition" does not exist, nor is there a team of analysts at a VC firm inventing new markets to value. From the way that some VCs can confidently look you in the eye and say that "the market is too small" after fingering your PowerPoint, you would think that they have flipped to page 128 of the market reference guide while pecking away on the Blackberry.
The reality is (a) you have likely done a bad job explaining the market size in your pitch and (b) there is not a lot of anecdotal data for the VC to make an off-the-cuff mental estimate. When you pitch your business, you must reference concrete market data points, the best examples of which are recent liquidity events, that a VC can understand quickly. Read on...PRIVATE: Members Only (913 Characters)
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-17
They say that VCs are "pattern matchers". Now after a couple of identical (bad) experiences during our current fund raising round, I think I see a pattern worth sharing.
Here's the story line:
-- Junior partner at mid-tier firm hears about deal, gets really excited, makes boastish claims about the speed at which they can get a deal done and makes strong enough claims about valuation that it's hard to say no to spending time
-- Junior partner researches the hell out of the deal, sucks down a lot of company time with questions, models, reference calls, etc.
-- Full partner meeting. Junior partner hasn't done his homework with the partnership to sell the deal. Senior partners start raising a series of questions and objections.
-- Junior partner, back on his heels, scrambles around to respond to all of the new objections, while assuring that the deal will still get done and a term sheet is just days away. Sucks down a bunch more company time. Objections are mostly silly and easy to overcome, and should have been handled before the full partner meeting.
-- As each objection is overcome, a new one appears from the big bag of silly objections. Objection overcome yet again.
-- Once this game has run its course, one final objection appears, this time, the objection that can not be overcome: "We just don't feel good about
As I reflect on these these two experiences, it is pretty clear what happened. The deal was dead by the time we walked out of the full partnership meeting. The junior partner had not properly sold the deal, and they didn't have the juice with their senior colleagues to get to the finish line.
But of course, the junior partner can't admit to any of this. It has to be the company's *fault* that the deal came off the tracks. So instead of a simple, "No, we're not going to be able to go forward," they reach into that good ol' big bag of silly objections. The management team is on their game, and so the objections are easily overcome.
After a few cycles of this, the junior partner realizes that he can't save face on the back of a factual objection, so he ultimately retreats into the vague ad hominem objection that can not be overcome.
So beware. Junior partner" Questioning his juice" All powerful senior partner stomping on the deal" Think twice before you spend any more time on a process to get to that elusive term sheet that is still coming. If they won't give you a simple "no", give THEM a simple "no".PRIVATE: Members Only