I’ve been around startups since the late 1970s; long before dot com and software took over the spotlight.
And what I learned about VCs back then was different from VCs now.
Back them, most VCs were guys who had started or helped start companies, with strong operational, not just technical, and strategic background.
Sad to say, most VCs with under 25 years experience often don’t know what they’re doing, because they have never created/built a company, while the rest are just bankers masquerading as VCs following “sure bets.”
Granted, VCs have always had much in common with lemmings, preferring to fund “me, too,” companies, as opposed to earth-shattering, high risk products/services that actually moved society in new directions.
From my perch back then on the edge of the VC ecosystem I watched as the “names on the door” retired and were replaced by Wall Street wunderkinds, whose only skill was manipulating money.
What didn’t change was their lemming-like, follow-the-leader investment strategy.
Things haven’t improved much.
While more partners and “names on the door” have operational experience, the investment ecosystem is more closed-door incestuous than ever before.
So unless you are one of the mostly white, mostly male, right school, strongly connected, entitled few, start your company with a bootstrap mentality from the beginning — not as a fallback contingency.
Waiting for funding is like asking for permission.
Flickr image credit: billsoPHOTO