Thursday, March 30, 2006

Could venture funding lower your company’s chance of survival?

Henry Copeland

Why? Some hypotheses:
-- considerable time/resources are sunk in meeting with VC, then jumping through their hoops. The best meetings and hoops are those held with/by customers.
-- you've got to scramble to make lots of money fast to generate eye-popping returns on a bigger nut. It's much harder to generate a 100X return on $10 million than on $1 million.
-- many VC are sheep, so you end up selling the VC a business plan that conforms to yesterday's zeitgeist, rather than tomorrow's.
-- because you are spending OPM, its easy to wreck your company's bottom-line focused ethos.
-- locked into "the plan" you've sold yourself/investors, it's nearly impossible to attend to the subtle breezes that fortell tomorrow's hurricanes.
-- most VC focuses on home-runs, not the accretive base-hits that power long-term success. So what if half a VC's portfolio companies flounder? The VC will double his portfolio's size with monster returns on just a couple of investments. (Tough luck if you or your customers are in the failing half.)

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