Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Are you a pig? Or a Chicken? One VCs view....

In this excellent article by Jeff at the "Seeing Both Sides" blog, he talks about what kinds of red flags will make a VC pass.  If you're developing software and looking for funding - here's an excellent list of things to watch out for.  I highly encourage you to read the entire article.
  • You should already have "started up" before you look for money.  VCs want to know you have skin in the game and are passionate about your product - so passionate you won't wait for them.
  • You should be entirely dedicated to your project before you approach a VC. They see you having a separate job while working on your wonderful idea as not enough dedication and passion - you must believe in what you're asking them to invest in.
  • Your team should be geophysically located together.  Working as a team is an important part of forming a good startup.  Even with todays awesome technology - nothing beats face to face.
  • They are looking for a hands-on CEO. If that's not you then you better be sure you already have one.  Saying you're going to hire a CEO or COO to run the business for you is a red flag for them.
  • You must be willing to exercise your own network to drive revenue, bring in sales etc.   If you won't even try to convince your friends you'll never convince them.
So to flip that over the "pig" entrepreneurs as Jeff calls them must truley dedicate their life to their vision, they must put themselves out there as being behind their idea, so that failure is a public event.  You must be poor.  Seriously.  VCs are looking for hungry enterepreneurs with family obligations and commitments who will work to make their company a success.  If you can just sit back and live high on the hog regardless of how your company does you won't have the proper motivation in their mind 0 the only exception is the "happy and scrappy" lot who just can't settle down - and prove it by being very hands on in venture number 2.  You must be obsessed with your company to the exclusion of all other outside interests other than your family and your health. 

Jeff goes on to state that VCs want not just a Pig in the drivers seat, but an entire team of pigs.  How's your pigsty?  Full of pigs or are there some chickens in there.  Are you one of them?