On April 19, Crain’s published an article regarding the closing of MATH’s second early-stage venture fund, the title of which was “Henikoff-led venture fund raises $46 million.” On the one hand, this is good. We worked with Crain’s to receive media coverage for the successful closing of our second fund. But on the other hand, Crain’s got the title and tone of the article wrong.
Over twenty years ago, a mentor of mine gave me some advice that I have never forgotten; I call it the “New York Times Test.” He declared his expectation that anything he said, wrote or did could end up in the New York Times one day, and he used that as a guide and to only say, write and do things that he would be proud of when they appeared on the front page.
When do you start listening to that little voice inside your head? You know that voice—that nagging thrum of curiosity about a new career that turns into doubting the growth prospects of your current role. How do you know when it’s time to dust off the old resume, spruce it up a bit, and take it out for a trial run?
As a venture capitalist, I meet every day with two or three entrepreneurs who pitch me to invest in their dreams. (Last year, we reviewed more than 2,000 new companies.) Having done this now for 20 years across three funds, I’ve heard every kind of pitch imaginable. Here are five examples of what not to say to a VC.
Of all of the misconceptions about startup life, I think the most profound—and ultimately damaging—is the myth of the savior leader: the magical CEO who creates the perfect product/service and business model that erupts into a runaway success. The cold, hard truth is that it takes both time and much iteration before most entrepreneurs get it right.