On Heartbreak, the VC variety
Venture capitalists get a lot of slack for breaking the hearts of entrepreneurs. Most perceive that we sit on our leather chairs every day and tell a bunch of CEO’s that their “babies are ugly” - aka, “your business will never scale.” This is far from the truth.
The difficult reality is that there is a lot of inbound interest for capital from start-ups that are just getting started and haven’t truly vetted their product in the market. There are rare exceptions to the rule: entrepreneurs that jump out at you and force you to take a leap of faith. The hardest part is figuring out whether the start-up you just passed on, is one of those.
Even more rare is a business that has all the right metrics (customer traction, revenue, stellar management team) but doesn’t want you. I call them our shooting stars; You only see them once or twice in your career and they zip past you before you can figure out what to do next.
Just like entrepreneurs have their pie-in-the-sky firm they hope to raise capital from, we have our shooting stars. We all have a list of start-ups we wish we had invested in, or entrepreneurs we courted who chose another firm. We don’t talk about it often, but its there. In the back of drawer or a sad evernote log. It’s like having your dream guy (or lady) ask someone else to the prom. It’s not fun.
So if you are an entrepreneur that has gotten the infamous VC “pass” email, take a step back and realize we’ve been in your shoes. We’ve been passed up for another firm, or having been an entrepreneur in another life, been passed up for capital. It’s part of the job, and part of this scary ecosystem.
It isn’t fun for a week, or two weeks, or several months - but you get back into the routine of things and it makes you want to work harder.
And, for the record, if Bessemer has been the source of your heartbreak, check out our anti-portfolio and send us an e-mail when your company files for an IPO. We’ll add you to the list.