11 Things You Should Never Do When Raising VC Funding

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No matter where you are at in building your startup, chances are at some point you will contemplate on whether you should seek VC funding. You’ll most likely go through your network, your accelerator, or even cold call to get a meeting some of of these guys. However, how are you going to stand out amongst them? After all, VC’s get pitched everyday from a wide array of people. Not only do you want to grab their attention, but you don’t want to commit faux pas that will leave a bad taste in their mouths before they even consider investing in your project. With that being said, NextShark spent all last week contacting some of the biggest VC’s to compile a list of 11 things young entrepreneurs do that VC’s hate. Enjoy!

1. “Asking for an hour of a VC’s time before showing any reason why that would be time well spent.” –  Chris Sacca, VC at LOWERCASE capital, Investor in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, kickstarter

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2. “Name-dropping and trying to sound cool & plugged in – this is what wannabes do in Hollywood. ‘Ashton and Troy Carter are in!’ ‘Scoble thinks we’re cool!’ and ‘we’re part of YC’ are not proxies for quality of team, business model and product.” – Tim Chang, VC at Mayfield Fund

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3. “Spin information instead of giving us the facts.” – David Skok, VC at Matrix Partners

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4. “Being overly-confident. Having confidence is absolutely key but there is a fine line between being confident and being arrogant. Keep in mind you’re pitching your future partners so the relationship needs to feel natural and friendly” – Greg Isenberg, Venture Partner Good People Ventures & Founder 5by

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5. “One thing that drives me nuts is when an entrepreneur leads with their group of investors rather than with their product. when I invest, I’m backing a guy or girl who I believe in — not a group of random people writing checks.” – Ben Lerer, Managing Director at Lerer Ventures

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6. “[My] message to people who attend every conference has always been, “Do you see Mark Zuckerberg at every conference? Do you see Ev or Mark Pincus at every conference? Do you see Larry or Sergey at every conference? Name one, professional conference attendee that has built a successful software business? If you’re in the services business, looking to sell books or work in sales I get why you might spend more time at conferences.” – Mark Suster, Partner at Upfront Ventures

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7. “The thing founders do that investors most dislike is fail.” – Paul Graham, Co-founder of Y-Combinator

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8. “A lot of young entrepreneurs tell me they don’t have time to read books. That drives me nuts. You seem to have the time to check your Facebook and Twitter. So make the time to read. Reading biographies is like sharpening your axe. Even though it might not feel productive at the time, when it comes time for you to execute later, your axe will be so sharp because of it.” – Alex Banayan, VC at Alsop Louie Partners

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9. “Not sure it’s age dependent, but give before you get, don’t get caught up in the noise and listen to your elders.” – Jason Mendelson, VC at Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital

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10. “Young people often lack a defining vision – if you’re just building ‘uber for whatever’ it doesn’t impress me. I want to know the why, what’s the big fucking idea that’s going to get you, your team and your stakeholders excited for the next decade plus. That’s going to be the fuel that keeps you thinking, driving and running when everyone else runs out of steam.” – Paige Craig, Angel Investor and Advisor to Klout

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11. “Giving a remote pitch via Webex or GoToMeeting rather than sending a deck or just using something simple and clean like Join.me. Firstly, it is just a pain in the ass — the software is too complicated, sometimes even requires download (!) and always steals 10 minutes of the entrepreneur’s time getting set up. But most importantly, it shows a tolerance for mediocre software and bad user experience which is an immediate red flag.” – Mo Koyfman, VC at Spark Capital

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