Here’s our anti-term sheet for VCs… Do you have yours?
Pretty soon GipsyBot will embark on a fundraising journey, naturally I’ve started thinking about the most productive way to find the “perfect VC”.
I’ve read enough blogs posts on fundraising, they all focus on the same thing: how to pitch.
But few of them talk about the selection process from a founders’ standpoint.
And for me, at least at this stage, that’s far more important than my deck or the size of my raise.
I want to look forward to board meetings.
I don’t want to view them as a chore.
Similar to how one would write a criteria for finding someone to share their life once they decide they want to get married, I started creating a list of the things I’m looking forward from our future VC partner.
This post from Paul Graham on what to look for in a founder also inspired me.
So below are the attributes I’ll be looking for in my VC dating game:
1. A positive outlook
This one should be obvious… but it’s one of those things easy to forget.
Having someone who’s a downer on the journey to unicorn status is not going to brode well with our culture.
We like to optimize the hell out of people’s lives but have fun while we’re at it. Otherwise what’s the point?
2. Market wits
A big picture understanding of trends is a major factor in my selection criteria. Mainly because it will allow us to take better decisions along the way if we’re all aligned on our reading of the markets.
One other facet of this particular skill is that new data may imply new direction. So flexibility in one’s ability to analyze the data is also going to be key.
3. Obsessive interest in time hacking – and hacking in general
I’m borderline excessive in my interest in optimizing everything around me.
From sleep, to nutrition, to exercise, to time at work.
I want to maximize the impact of my actions. Everything is constantly revisited to make sure I spend the time on things that matter. Instead of wasting 160 hours a week I much rather have 50 hours of impactful work.
4. An early adopter mentality
Someone who’s typically obsessed by optimization is going to be an early adopter of tech as well, but that’s not always the case.
I’d rather have someone on board who has tried all the 50 tools on productivity out there and knows why he liked some and why he hated the others. It will make for a better, informed partner along the way
5. Female CEO Friendly
After reading a few statistics and a few books on the VC industry I have this (possibly false) perception that it’s been very unbalanced on the white male side.
I hope I’m wrong, but data is in my favor – female founded startups generate more revenue.
It’s still going to be an interesting process because this female founder is pregnant. And some VC may not be ok with that
Here’s what’s less important
A VC’s track record is nice, but I’d rather have someone who inspires me over someone who has big names in their portfolio.
Getting together in person in the same city is nice but not required. Video conferences work very well as well
I still have question marks about one aspect: the fund’s brand.
On one hand a strong brand helps for PR and future rounds.
On the other hand I don’t know how to measure the difference between one brand and another, outside of the extremes of course – I get it that Sequoia gets more press than your local micro-VC.
So that one I’ll leave to fate.