When I first jumped into the VC business and hung up my entpreneurial spikes, I was teased by friends that I had gone over to "the Dark Side". As the saying goes, there’s truth in jest. I’ve been surprised at the negative reputation the VC business has. In analyzing why that might be, I have been struck by a few common themes. With half apologies to David Letterman, here are the top 5 reasons my entrepreneur friends harp on as to why they dislike VCs:
5) You know the farm story about the commitment levels of the chicken and the pig towards breakfast? Guess who’s the VC and who’s the entrepreneur?
4) Work ethic. CEO: "I need to have a BOD call next week to drive to a decision on this." VC: "I’m in the Himalayas for the next 3 weeks and then at a week-long offsite with my partners in Aspen, so let’s just cover this at the next quarterly BOD meeting."
3) Varying defintions of value-add. Entrepreneur: "I need strategic insight, business development contacts, recruiting assistance, M&A and financing introductions." VC: "We need to work on stronger revenue growth, gross margins, and our competitive position. See you at the next Board meeting."
2) Take credit for successes, abandon failures. VC: "I was like a co-founder there." Entrepreneur: "Funny, I didn’t see you at my 7am weekly staff meetings."
1) Board room M.O.: show up late, pound on the Blackberry, look up and ask a question that was answered 2 hours ago.
Next time, I’ll even the score!