I had a email conversation with a friend yesterday. He had just been turned down by a venture capital firm on an investment. He was pissed. The VC firm had not acted well in parts of the process. He drafted an email to me that dressed the firm down a bit. And he asked me what I thought.
I told him “Let it go. Don’t send the email.”
I’ve been in the venture capital business a long time. I show deals we are invested in to VCs every day. And when they turn us down, I still get pissed. It hurts. How can you not love my kids when I love them so much?
But when you get a no, you have to take it with class. You need to thank the investor for taking a look. You need to keep the relationship intact for the next time you want to raise money. It is hard to take a hit and not hit back. But you have to do it.
I always make myself feel better by saying to myself “this deal is going to be huge and the best revenge will be when they are kicking themselves for saying no.” That makes it a lot easier to write that polite reply that you need to write.
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Fred Wilson is a partner at Union Square Ventures. He writes the influential A VC.
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