on average a VC meets an entrepreneur once…until they meet again.
As a VC you are in a role where you meet with the vast majority of people exactly once. In this position, it is easy to loose touch with the broader reality of the start-up industry — you can forget it is small and that the probability you see someone multiple times over a career is very high.
This morning I read this post from Daniel Tenner and it is a great reminder.
The point he makes is the start-up industry is a long term career choice and entrepreneurs should realize they are playing a multi-round game. He is right, and he is right for everyone in the start-up industry, not just entrepreneurs but investors and other service providers as well.
I see lots of VCs approach meeting founders as both a long term and short term exercise. They take a long term approach with successful people or ideas they love and a short term approach with un-knowns or companies they are less passionate about. I experienced this as an un-known entrepreneur pitching my fitness game back in 2003. I also felt this as a junior person in the VC industry — certainly from other VCs and from some founders.
I have said before that the VC product is broken for 99% of founders and Daniel’s article made me think that one of the reasons may be a “one round game” approach. It is a mistake.
A final quote from the article with a small edit from me:
It means you should not burn relationships, piss off people, take damaging shortcuts — because you’re in this small world of entrepreneurship for a long time to come. It means you should always act as if your behavior as a founder (an investor) will be with you for the rest of your career — because it will.