First Round Capital was one of the first investors in Uber, and has made some early bets on other high-profile startups like Warby Parker and Blue Apron.
Recently, the firm published a FAQ for young companies seeking funding.
A lot of information in it is specific to First Round, but there’s also an excellent section on the five often-overlooked qualities First Round looks for in entrepreneurs.
- Delaying gratification — founders must be willing to give up comfort, like a high-paying job at a big tech company, for many years to build something valuable. First Round wants to see if you’ve got a demonstrated capability for delayed gratification, like skipping spring break to work on a long-term project.
- Admitting you don’t know everything — Some founders try to have an answer for every question, and insist there are no possible risks to their business model. First Round prefers founders who know what they don’t know, and admit it.
- Good storytelling — If you can’t explain your story to First Round, they doubt you’ll be able to explain it to customers, future investors, or the press.
- Founder-market fit — You don’t necessarily need experience in the area you’re trying to tackle with your startup, but you need a good argument to explain why you’re capable of winning there. “We’ve lost a ton of money betting on seasoned enterprise founders pursuing consumer ideas, and vice versa,” the firm warns.
- Speed — They want to see that you’re executing very fast even during the limited time window they’re considering an investment.