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My company is outside the core of Leapfrog Ventures and normally I would not approach such a VC. However, I was attracted by having two principals who are entrepreneurs and MIT engineers. ie I felt these partners are the type that truly earned their stripes and they are not some green finance geeks who could not manage the local 7-11 yet acts like he is God's gift to Venture Financing (you know the type I am describing). I was pleasantly surprised to get a quick response indicating that this was outside their core (which of course I already knew). However, knowing my company is outside their core, I thought that would be a good place to practice the pitch and ask some feedback. I was pleasantly surprised that Peter agreed to meet me for an hour and listen to the pitch and provide feedback. Within about 24 hours of initial contact, I met Peter in Menlo Park. He listened to the pitch attentively and provided some great feedback on the pitch, on the story, on what is missing. He provided some suggestions on addressing the (internal) questions that a VC would have listening to the pitch that I needed to proactively address. Most VC's don't even offer any feedback and Pete not only offered feedback but also provided some coaching and good advice. Truly you can tell that he is a class act. To top it all, he took the time to do this in mid December when everyone is usually really pressed for time. Bottom line, this is a super classy VC and I would highly recommend Leapfrog
Private: 51 Chars
While introduced to Aydin, I met with Sundeep. Out of 100+ VC conversations I've had, he was literally the absolute worst. Arrogant and disrespectful. Talked a LOT more than he listened. And in our one hour meeting came across as if he was trying to prove he's the smartest guy in the room. His behavior was especially strange because he had very little domain expertise in our area, yet rather than listening, was espousing strong opinions. In summary, the guy came across like a total clown. Really reflects poorly on Aydin personally, who seems to have a great reputation. If someone can figure out why he's on the team, I'd love to know, if only to understand how Aydin made the decision to hire him.
My company just pitched to dozens in VCs in the valley. We received substantial backing from numerous establish VCs.
Looking back, my worst experience was with Euan at Kholsa. He was very late to the meeting, and he had to leave early too. In addition, he spent the entire meeting on his cell phone, occasionally looking up to murmur off things about Kholsa's rigid theses. He went on and on about how we didn't send him our deck ahead of time.
At least he gave us a curt pass email after the meeting -- and another forced request for us to send over our full deck.
I've spoken with many other credible startups that have pitched to Euan / Kholsa. It sounds like this is a pattern. Under no circumstances will we ever take money from these guys. Also, I hear that Vinod is a holy terror.
When started first to discuss with Intel Capital, I was skeptical. Concerns about being "too corporate", "difficult to negotiate with and close" etc were some inputs I received.
I was pleasantly surprised.
The Director assigned to us was top notch. He got the business and opportunity quickly and was able to connect with appropriate parties in Intel Corporate quickly to get feedback and assess possible business synergy.
Negotiation was professional, reasonable and timely. No "playing games" or "corporate stuff". Main somewhat unique requirement was an Observer seat on the board, which was ok with us.
Deal terms were fair. From several term sheets provided by other firms, Intel's was not the best but above the median.
We ended up closing with them on the round - due to combination of the individual director assigned, the fair terms and the brand/strategic value (which was important to our security related business).
A year+ into the relationship, ongoing work with the Intel rep is very well. We received several good introductions to Intel business partners for business development as well as multiple strong referrals to executive candidates for positions we were looking for. Reasonable oversight via board observer seat as well as very good sounding board as we discuss strategy.
Overall - very happy with the decision to partner with Intel Capital.
Private: 95 Chars
How would we know which VCs to pitch once we have a proof-of-concept in Storage and/or Networking?
Mitch gives a first impression of being a polished and informed professional. He's really a quick flip guy who's constantly meddling in operations.
He's rumored to be transferring his work to Bill Gurley.
Private: 111 Chars
It took less than 3 months to close the deal from the initial conversation to money at the bank. We were talking to others and ready for due diligence, but it's still a good time-frame for a serious round.
The experience was highly positive, and continues to be such.
The meeting was well attended and the attendees appeared to have done their homework. They asked questions that were based on our pitch and were very reasonable next questions. I'd have to say it was a good experience.
Private: 217 Chars
Was introduced to Evangelos Simoudis knowing we were too small for their firm. Evangelos was on time and quite helpful, listened well. At first he treated me a bit like a new kid, but once I established my bone fides, the conversation turned serious and he treated with me respect; also offered short advice sessions as we grow.
Would definitely consider talking to him again.
Private: 345 Chars
David Verrill comes across as fair, earnest and thoughtful. It was obvious from the insightful questions he asked in due diligence - in writing, which we appreciated because it gave us the opportunity to provide equally thoughtful answers - that he had read our materials. He then responded with equally thoughtful follow-up questions, and followed-up again a number of weeks later so that he could get an update on our progress. All in all, a very professional approach.
We had a very different experience with Charlie Cameron, who made disrespectful comments in a public setting based on an elevator pitch, which we felt was reckless given his position. More detail for entrepreneurs posted privately.
Private: 1188 Chars
I founded a startup and I have found a team of programmers that only work on it part time as they have to make some money to pay their living costs. Living in a country where equity isn't as valued as in the states it was very hard to find a team to begin with to start working on a no name startup and where funding is not readily available.
I am the only one working on it full time, as a non too technical biz dev person I keep running into problems. While I do customer development and basically have clients waiting on us to deliver (willing to pay), this keeps beeing a stumbling block. They are too slow to deliver and doing a presale is hard to pull off when I even doubt that they can deliver on time. I have them under a vesting scheme with 1 year cliff and it's about half a year into development.
Do not get me wrong, they are professional in what they do and I like them as people.
Discussing joining an accelerator for some seed money and focussed working months in one space to speed things up was met by them with the opinion that they do not think that we have enough of our product yet which isn't true.
We've got some good initial traction and some data that is sellable to establish an early adopter paying model. I'd like to explore my options and a potential scheme of controlling how much they have worked on the code as well as a line of argumentation to either motivate them to step up to the game or slowly show them the door and find a good replacement.
Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.