When a VC Says They Hate Your Idea, They Probably Do


SAI contributor Mark Davis is a venture capitalist at DFJ Gotham.  He writes Get Venture, a blog aimed at helping entrepreneurs trying to raise money from VCs.  Many more of Mark’s contributions here.

The best indication of a VC’s interest is direct feedback. While some VCs will offer this feedback without being prompted, you may have to ask others (and it is OK to ask). If a VC gives you feedback, listen to it. Don’t hear what you want to hear.  Hear what they say–no matter how unpleasant it might be.

Listen carefully to what VCs say even if you believe that it contradicts their actions. Often entrepreneurs will ignore direct feedback because they have decided that other signals (e.g., body language) are more telling. This is a bad idea. Listen to what the VC says to you first and foremost.

Most VCs are too busy looking at lots of deals to play games. If they tell you that they are not interested, move on.

If you rationalize away what a VC told you, you may ultimately make bad decisions. First, your expectations for receiving capital may be misaligned. Second, you may justify interactions with the VCs that annoy them and ultimately damage your relationship.

The key is to take direct feedback at face value.

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