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Learning From Your VC Disaster

As part of our Getting Funded series, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council what the worst VC meeting they had was and what they learned from it. From angry dinners to annoying yawns, here are their answers.

Burning Dollar

1. There’s Nothing Better Than Your Product Breaking In The Boardroom!

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It’s inevitable that your product will break or crash five minutes before you talk to a VC. I swear they have apps that ensure it just to test you. The key is to understand your idea and story, bring a short deck of slides, and quickly outline who you are and why you’re interesting. Be humble, admit mistakes or weaknesses openly, and ask for feedback. If you do, the meetings will work out fine.

Derek Shanahan, Foodtree

2. Nap Time

My worst VC meeting was with a VC that was obviously not interested very early on. He was yawning and almost falling asleep. Honestly I was ready to walk out. I learned to carry a can of RedBull with me, and that this VC missed out on a massive opportunity.

Ryan Holmes, HootSuite

3. When Disaster Strikes

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Right out of college I went to a VC meeting and told them I wanted to be their EIR. They brushed it off and my friend who introduced me to them was really embarrassed by me asking without knowing the firm at all. I learned right away that you MUST build relationships before you ask for things and take introductions from people very seriously.

Noah Kagan, AppSumo.com

4. Be Prepared!

I met with a VC while I was in San Francisco. I had set it up just as a casual lunch, a get to know you. The VC was very direct and didn’t beat around the bush, asking very tough questions that I wasn’t prepared to answer, as if it were a funding meeting. I learned to always figure out the other person’s expectations before heading into a meeting so that I can prepare accordingly.

Nathan Lustig, Entrustet

5. Never Take It Personal

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We had been negotiating a deal for months (we were in the final stages of diligence). It was a dinner to iron out a few points. The guy started to comment on issues in the company to gain an advantage on some deal points (they were minor). I lost my emotions and ended up blowing the deal. I shouldn’t have taken it personal. He wanted better terms. My ego was wrapped up, so I didn’t stay cool.

– Craig Fuller , TransCard

6. Can You Hear Me Now?

To be honest, I’ve been lucky and my meetings thus far haven’t really fit in that category yet. I’ve certainly had mediocre meetings, where I just knew within the first few minutes that my “idea” was just not clicking. Those are usually the least ideal meetings.

Brian Wong, Kiip

Read more about Getting Funded

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The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.) is an invite-only nonprofit organization composed of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The Y.E.C promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.

About the author

The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.) provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, community and educational resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth. Our organization promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment.

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