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General Catalyst

Firm Rating:

Rated 2.6 / 5.0 by 41
Track
Record
2.5
Operating
Competence
2.6
Pitching
Efficiency
2.6
Favorable
Deal Terms
2.8
Execution
Assistance
2.4

Firm Homepage:

FIRM OVERVIEW: Large Private VC founded in 2000 based out of Cambridge, USA (US East)

TEAM MEMBERS: Bill Fitzgerald, David Fialkow, David Orfao, Joel Cutler, John Simon, Larry Bohn,

7
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0
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Lack of Integrity Avoid Charlie Baker and Hemant

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by takeaguess on 2012-11-05

PUBLIC:

I had a series of meetings with Charlie Baker and Hemant for our post A round. We went through full diligence, but didn't close them, as they stated they couldn't support our valuation. Overall this experience was fine, as I would negatively review any for not wanting to give us money. The following Charlie joined the board of one of our largest, public competitors. Turns out that they have been friends for years.

PRIVATE: Members Only (572 Characters)

5
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2
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Avoid Chris Farmer and General Catalyst Information Thieves

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2011-10-30

PUBLIC:

Avoid General Catalyst and Chris Farmer.

According to Chris, 50% of their seed stage investments are with their own cadre of entrepreneurs in residence (EIRs). They have invested in over 40 companies out of this seed fund and touch on a great many spaces. When I pitched him, sure enough there was a company in their portfolio with an EIR that was in a tangential space.

Our company is doing great, and there we were, sharing trade secrets and IP for an hour and helping guide them to a better place. And, they have a whole cadre of EIRs and fund quickly, so entrepreneurs share their IP with them only to have them jump-start their own version almost wholly owned by General Catalyst.

There are a lot of other posts from entrepreneurs who have pitched General Catalyst only to find a copycat emerge months later from their cadre of EIRs. I left my meeting with them with reservations and suspicion which is why I looked them up afterward. I definitely did not feel Chris or General Catalyst were trustworthy, and structurally the way they are organized is in conflict with entrepreneurs.

I wish I had read the other posts on The Funded before meeting with them.

PRIVATE: Members Only

5
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1
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Sneaky People

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by chief_firefighter on 2011-01-27

PUBLIC:

Like others here, I got the sense they were mostly fishing for ideas from our pitch to share with some other company in their portfolio.

PRIVATE: Members Only (635 Characters)

0
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2
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Extremely Helpful

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by jeremyg on 2010-12-12

PUBLIC:

Gautam Gupta is extremely helpful

PRIVATE: Members Only

1
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2
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Constantly Spamming Us....

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by ronpaul on 2010-07-29

PUBLIC:

These guys are constantly spamming me for meetings.... once every 2 weeks like clockwork.

I'm CERTAIN this is the normal pick your brain and never invest scum that infests the D-level 'investor' community.

I've told them I'm not interested but they keep following up.

Automatically deleting their email based on filtering rules now....

PRIVATE: Members Only

6
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0
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Treated Poorly

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by bahman1234 on 2009-07-23

PUBLIC:

We did not think GCVP put any real thought in talking to us

PRIVATE: Members Only (276 Characters)

15
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3
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Avoid !

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-15

PUBLIC:

They dutifully investigated our business, then created from scratch an exact copycat of our company, 6 month later. Let me be clear: they did not invest in a competitor, they founded, managed (and funded, obviously) the copy cat!

PRIVATE: Members Only (271 Characters)

8
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---

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by --- on 2009-06-10

PUBLIC:

---

PRIVATE: Members Only

10
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1
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Understand Firm Intent

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-07-08

PUBLIC:

Like any fund, there are a wide variety of different personalities and skill levels represented by the partners and associates. General Catalyst has grown very fast and have some real inexperienced and unproven professionals in their ranks.

I also found that there is a great delta between the hype that they put on themselves and the reality of who they are. They are not "proven entrepreneurs" as they state but rather a rag-tag bunch of spoiled brats, mama's boys, and also rans.

They are however, masters of spin, so if you have a fluffy idea with no substance, this is the firm to take it to.

For the rest of us, run as fast as you can.

PRIVATE: Members Only (773 Characters)

12
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0
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As if Building a Great Company Wasn't Tough Enough

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-19

PUBLIC:

Unsolicited and repeated requests to meet and share what we were doing. We politely declined because we were told by numerous and credible sources in Boston that they are shifty, smarmy, and clearly on the prowl for competitive information. We all like to have our ego stroked, but credible VCs rarely contact you blind. They find someone that knows you to facilitate an introduction.

In short, GC's tactics are one step up from the spam mail that claims you've won $10M . . . but only after they ask you for your SS# and some transfer fees.

PRIVATE: Members Only

19
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4
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Absolute Scum

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-05

PUBLIC:

They cold-called us the day after we were on CNET and a few of the high-profile blogs - eager to get us in their office for a meet and greet. We spoke with them 3 times, did some phone presentations (we're in different states), and they were completely loving it. But they kept on having scheduling conflicts on our avails, and eventually stopped returning emails and calls.

Six months later I find out why - they never had interest, they were just pre-texting us for research. One of their core portfolio companies who only made enterprise hardware & software launched a consumer product that bore a more-than striking resemblance to ours.

PRIVATE: Members Only (656 Characters)

5
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1
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We Pitched at Gc

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by topgun on 2007-11-25

PUBLIC:

We pitched our idea to Hemant at GC -- and I don't think we did a great pitch (it was our first pitch to a VC firm) so needless to say we did not get funded. I don't get the feeling that they were ready to act in our space but they are shopping and studying the market - so when they do see something exciting they can move ahead more quickly jump in to the game. This is just being smart as a buyer goes - there were no promises about coming in to pitch them and walking out with a check. By the same token - as we have to be smart buyers of the VC's services we would be bringing in a very long term partner in the early stages of running and building a company so the onus is on both of us to make sure that we sell our company to the right partner and they buy into an idea and company that yields a partnership that is right for them. That is the whole idea of the pitch and I don't think Hemant lead us to believe any differently. The fact that he met us and gave us honest feedback about his concerns over our pitch and company was more helpful than not.

PRIVATE: Members Only (550 Characters)

7
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4
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Treated with Respect

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-10-05

PUBLIC:

I recently had a call with one of the associates and was pleased with the level of respect and insight he provided. While Gautam ultimately passed on moving forward, he followed up with clear and concise reasoning and has made himself available as a sounding board in the future. While I still would hope to work with thier partnership, it was nice for once not to be blown off or mislead.

PRIVATE: Members Only

3
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3
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General Narcissist

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-16

PRIVATE: Members Only (110 Characters)

3
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4
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Very Professional and Helpful

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by RXMACI on 2007-09-07

PUBLIC:

We made a pitch by phone to a Managing Director, who was very professional, insightful and helpful. Although our opportunity was not a fit for their portfolio, we received helpful feedback and a couple of names of other VCs who look at deals like ours.

PRIVATE: Members Only (577 Characters)

13
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0
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Competitive Intelligence Gathering

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-21

PUBLIC:

We pitched to David Orfao a few years back. I got the sense in the meeting they weren't being upfront with me about something. Sure enough, they announced an investment in our competitor within a few weeks.

PRIVATE: Members Only

6
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1
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Jury Out

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by RuralRoute6 on 2007-08-19

PUBLIC:

Money is there but can they bring partners to the table" George Bell has a strong network but unsure of other patrners/principals.
Should also beware of GC researching ideas for their incubation companies.

PRIVATE: Members Only (355 Characters)

10
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0
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Wasted Our Time

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by reinspruch on 2007-08-12

PUBLIC:

We had two phone calls and a presentation. We asked no less than a dozen times if our stage (pre-adoption) or location (not in Boston) were an issue. They kept telling us no and invited us out to pitch to a partner. Two days later we get an email that they are not comfortable investing in an pre-adoption company, particularly one not in Boston. Very very unprofessional and wasted our time.

PRIVATE: Members Only (245 Characters)

10
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3
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Very Cocky

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by anonymous on 2007-08-09

PUBLIC:

An associate was supposed to call me to chat before I was scheduled to pitch at their office. The associate blew me off and then called me later to tell me to come into the office. He was supposed to meet me with John Simon.

I was left waiting for 45 minutes in their conference room and when John finally showed up the associate was nowhere to be found. He blew me off again! John then told me that our hour time slot had to be cut to 15 minutes because he was running late. He must have felt that it was alright to keep me waiting but he couldn't do that to his next meeting.

He then low balled me and said that I could probably find other VCs willing to pay me more because they probably didn't have the same quality of deal flow as GC and that they were probably unable to post the kind of returns that GC has posted. I have never met anyone as cocky as him in my entire life.

Life is too short to deal with people like this.

PRIVATE: Members Only

8
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Picking Your Brain

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-16

PUBLIC:

It is pretty well known that they brought SideStep in to pick thier brains during thier process of founding kayak. This was something that really was out of line and should be recognized by any entrepreneur with a good business.

PRIVATE: Members Only (451 Characters)

7
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Ouch.

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-15

PUBLIC:

They cold called us, and we pitched them last year knowing that they had a portfolio company in our general industry. We just found out yesterday that the portfolio company is launching a product just like ours. They did not really do anything wrong, but it still stings.

PRIVATE: Members Only

3
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0
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Trend Chasers

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-14

PUBLIC:

George is a great guy and the team are good listeners.

PRIVATE: Members Only (287 Characters)

6
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0
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Hype Exceeds Reality (So Far)

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by mylar on 2007-05-10

PRIVATE: Members Only (790 Characters)

2
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1
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I Would Suggest Renaming Firm to 'Generic Capital'

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by More than Scrappy on 2007-05-08

PUBLIC:

I was contacted by Steve as they were very interested in hearing my pitch. He talked me into coming to their town on my dime. I also spent serious money on a hotel near their expensive offices. When I got the offices for our meeting, Steve and Joel didnt even allow me to pitch, instead bringing me to a couch where they proceeded to railroad me and not hear my plan or vision. Im an expert in both my field and online marketing, and deserved to be treated that way. In fact, if someone flys to see you at your request, spends $200 a night on a hotel, you should have the professionalism to allow them to actually DO their pitch. I wasnt allowed to, and was even belittled while there. Steve never followed up to my follow up email to him. Its very ironic because their website brags about how these guys will be a refreshing experience from how most investors treat enteprenuers. Quite the contrary, they were MY WORST experience of any of the 16 pitches we made accross the country. Beware of these guys, let them pay your airfare and hotel if they are really excited to meet you! They can afford it by the looks of their offices, and they really DONT really care about enteprenuers, as someone who has actually been there and met them.

PRIVATE: Members Only

2
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1
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Smart and Straight Up

Fund: General Catalyst

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-04

PUBLIC:

Spoke to them last year. They are very smart and ask great questions. I did not get funding, but I did get some very good advice. They are also good at follow-up and making sure they do not leave you hanging.

PRIVATE: Members Only