The Founders-VC Asymmetrical Relationship
When you’re on the sell side (as an advisor, an accelerator, a fundraiser…), you see founders & startups as they are. It’s a raw perspective that allows you to see clear pretty quickly. Nothing is hidden, you ask simple questions, you get straight & honest answers. You build trust and proximity between you.
It’s totally different when you’re on the VC side. Founders and Investors often develop an asymmetrical relationship.
For the past years, I have taught founders how to pitch and present their company, how to keep up the momentum of their fundraising, how to behave & communicate with their current and potential investors. However, I have found that many of them were failing at that exercice. And despite time and training, too many of them never reach the bar we expect them to. It’s a shame because it happens to many great entrepreneurs. It’s often not their fault:
Founders sometimes fail at building the right relationship with VCs because we too often fail at opening the book of rules of the Founders-VC Game.
Money + Rules of Attraction & Communication + Negotiations = This is a pretty serious GAME !
We are the one in a comfortable position with the ability to pass or follow, with the cash to invest, with the rules and patterns of past successes & good/bad relationship management. We are the ones with the recipe of a good Founders-VC relationship.
We know what we expect but we sometimes fail at expressing it clearly and loudly. We send (unintentionally) blurred messages instead of clear instructions, we go to the same meetings as the founders though we extract different conclusions.
Too often, founders and investors develop an asymmetrical relationship. It’s bad for the present and the future, for the dealflow as well as for the portfolio management. As a VC, our job to create and maintain a solid base of communication with founders. We must make sure we all understand each other. It’s the only way to be on the same path, to build proximity and trust between us. To win deals, on the long run.