The 7 reasons why I say No to founders reaching out to us for funding.
We say no to most of the entrepreneurs who reach out to us for funding. It’s not cool, we don’t enjoy it but we have to.
I tend to do it as fast & soon as possible in the process in order not to waste their time and mine… I sometimes don’t reply to unsolicited e-mails or in-mails (I don’t like Linkedin for this). Sometimes I do… It’s pretty random. Otherwise, I reply to all my emails within 24hrs (usually). Also, everyone who reaches out to us through Kima Ventures Website can follow her status in real-time on Kima Status.
I have my reasons to say no. They can be good or bad, right or wrong. If I could be right all the time and before success happen, I would probably be as rich as my boss :) My job is 80% uncertainty, 20% certainty. And 100% conviction. I hate to be wrong of course but I like to know why and also to change my mind on a market, a team or anything else! I mean… we’ve invested in a company delivering fresh & healthy dog food (nomnomnow.com) despite the fact that few weeks before I was telling a friend that I was done with food-related businesses and that I would never invest in pet-related stuff… When I told Nate (co-founder) about this, he simply replied: “For what it’s worth, never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed I’d be making dog food in my mid-30s…”
I like to keep it short when I say no. I don’t sugarcoat it. I’m pretty straightforward, yet benevolent. I hate forced-introductions (Please use double opt-in intros) and can be a bit harsh when replying to those ones… even though I know I should not.
Regarding the reasons why I say no to founders, here are the real ones… And the other real ones ;)
I don’t have a fit with the team. In that case, I rarely share this impression and just refer to another reason to say no. If we’re not gonna get together, why should we fight…
I don’t believe in the team. I might be very wrong and I think it’s very presumptuous to say that so I won’t tell you this neither and will refer to another reason to say no. It does not mean I won’t use a legitimate reason, it’s just that rejection is insulting when it’s too personal, so I never make it personal. If we’re not gonna get married, why should I make you cry…
I don’t understand the subject or the geography well enough and I don’t want to master it. So I just pass…
I don’t like the space or the activity, whatever the reason. Nothing personal, it’s just that, personally, I don’t like it.
It’s not in my sweet spot. I don’t fund small giants, services companies, infrastructures… I don’t judge what you’re building, I just feel that you’re not in my sweet spot so I’ll just tell you that.
It’s not what I’m looking for. There are spaces/sectors that I like: Insurance, Banking, Natural Language Processing, Blockchain, Augmented Reality, Cars, … And I know exactly what I’m looking for in those spaces. So if it’s not there, then it’s not for me.
I doubt too much about something. It can be related to the market, the competition, the product, the model… And your explanations did not convince me.
What we do is simple to understand: we fund great people who learn super fast and execute brilliantly on huge markets. The thing is, success is only visible afterwards once those entrepreneurs have shown their capacity to build an amazing company, to attract talents, to grow, to adapt... This is a people business, it’s full of unpredictability and we’re often wrong. It can be counter-intuitive, awkward, completely out of consensus. 99.99% of us wouldn’t have put a dime on Uber, Skype or Snapchat… And many similar companies have miserably failed before.
It sucks. And it’s super exciting too. That’s just the way it is.