The kindest, most helpful thing an investor can do is say it. Say it now.

You have just heard the first pitch from a founder. Or perhaps you are coming to the end of an interview with a candidate for a role in your company.

It’s feeling like a ‘No’.

Look at your notes? What is your private, uncomfortable feedback?

  • I didn’t understand a word of that.
  • I am not excited.
  • Resistant to ideas.
  • Unrealistic expectations.
  • etc

Now, share the feedback with your candidate. Do it respectfully. But share it.

The easiest path would be to politely conclude, share the process for the next steps and say, “We’ll be in touch.”

Imagine the next 100 meetings.

Now imagine your guest going to their next pitch or interview. Imagine them talking about similar things and people like you landing on a ‘No’.

Time and time again. Hundreds of times. Groundhog Day of ‘No’ for the candidate.

Worse, you may have just misunderstood them.

“I doubt we will invest because…”

I like to say what I would say in private to my team, directly to the candidate, so that they can respond.

  • Best case — they explain something differently and move the conversation back into positive territory.
  • Worse case — they learn a weak signal that they can address for the next 100 meetings.

No one benefits from investors avoiding hard conversations.

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Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog

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Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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