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Now It Gets Personal... Open Letter

Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-17


In what other industry can you pay $80 to attend a pitch event, pitch your business, and then be told your pitch is the worst one they've ever heard? (nevermind that I took first place of 10 companies 2 days prior with the same pitch)

Now it's just getting rude. But I got thinking about it - what is the agenda behind someone saying it's the worst they've heard? Ok, SHE is a judge (strike one - a woman VC has to prove she's smarter than everyone else in the room - be careful with them). As a judge, she can tell me where I need to improve, etc. However, by judging it as the 'worst' she's ever heard, doesn't that say something about her? Is she trying too hard? Is she trying to prove something? How is that helpful feedback from a professional?

The funny thing about the evening is that it didn't matter anyway - the 2 intelligent people in the room that I WANTED to talk to "got it" and I got meetings with them. So the joke is on them and their little pitching competition. Laugh at me, but I got through to the ones I needed to.

I'm damn near on the verge of crowdfunding this business. I think I want to start a massive grass roots campaign to get this funded and get some attention. If only I knew how to make something viral and get the whole country behind it. I still think I'd be better off trying to make that happen than trying to raise money from "the valley".

Posted by Livu on 2012-08-17 02:45:00

You did her a tremendous favor. She is going to sleep well knowing that she put you in your place.

Posted by LeeHenshaw on 2012-08-17 03:55:39

What a vile post. He can't talk about a woman like that. Who moderates these posts? Good comment Livu.

Posted by bryanrimmer on 2012-08-17 10:31:48

A childish rant, that's all - thrown the toys out of the stroller - bet he (assumed male ?) feels good about his outburst.
Grow up and get into business like an adult

Posted by Garfield on 2012-08-17 10:42:50

I didn't take this post as vile or an attack on women. It is true that many times women in the workplace feel like they have to compensate for being a woman in a man's world. I didn't think the poster was being insulting - s/he just didn't adjust his/her pitch to account for a female audience.

I do agree that an investor has no place telling someone that it's the worst pitch they've ever heard. That's just being mean. If this person won a pitching contest, certainly they can't be the 'worst' pitch someone has ever heard.

I say keep going and maybe next time adjust for women in the room. There IS a different pitching to them. Her being nasty like that doesn't mean you needed to be put in your place nor is the post attacking women (unless that's how you meant it).

Posted by MedTech Expert on 2012-08-17 11:11:41

I agree with post that the VC calling his pitch "the worst ever" is at best, immature. Top flight VCs would provide constructive criticism offering suggestions for improving a presentation. Many VCs, today, have never been in the trenches, performing the extremely difficult task of raising money and building a company. They cannot relate. They know spread sheets but not the nuts and bolts of creating, nurturing, and growing a new entity. As a result, there is a big disconnect between many of those I call "spread sheet" VCs and true entrepreneurs. This problem is not a "female" problem but a pervasive problem throughout the VC industry...and it is one of the factors many VC funds are in trouble.

Posted by Thor on 2012-08-17 21:31:46

The OP is still in the dream stage and the judge was probably right. Honesty is the second best thing that an entrepreneur can get.

Instead of focusing energies on an immature attack on the judge (trying to elevate himself by attacking her... classic), the OP should ask himself why the judge would have that opinion. Notice he's not doing that. Fail.

When the OP says "I'm damn near on the verge of crowdfunding this business. I think I want to start a massive grass roots campaign to get this funded and get some attention. If only I knew how to make something viral and get the whole country behind it. I still think I'd be better off trying to make that happen than trying to raise money from "the valley".", it proves to me that he's immature and new at this game. If his venture were good enough to get funded by such a strategy, that's where he should have started in the first place.

To the OP: Grow up and learn to listen. There is no such thing as bad feedback.

Posted by jplunkett on 2012-08-18 09:18:08

I agree with Thor. Make your pitch bulletproof. DSon't try and staify yourself ...satisfyt those that are critiquing and you will win

Posted by htroche on 2012-08-19 03:51:56

We are seeing a lot of posts from people going to pitching events expecting too much. Here are a few notes about pitching events:

- Never, ever, ever pay to pitch, not even $80.
- You will not find an investor in these events.
- The reason to pitch at these events is to polish your pitch.
- Don't take the feedback you get personally and take it with a grain of salt. Only act on patterns you see on the feedback.

Posted by magiclifestyle on 2013-08-12 08:08:05

Investors trashing pitches is completely unnecessary but unfortunately very common.

To judges and investors I say: If you don't have something positively helpful to say, keep your opinion to yourself. Someone else may see what you don't.

To entrepreneurs I say: Expect the worst and you will be less inclined to feel angry and frustrated. Learn what you can and move on, there are other investors waiting.

Crowdfunding may be an easy way to avoid the hard questions but the hard questions are necessary and helpful when designing a new business.

Posted by Sharky on 2013-08-13 09:14:55

I had some similar feedback one time from a dumb third tier VC. Most of them are just clueless and they judge entreprenuers just by their p"rofessioanl ass kissing skills". Because that's how they got their job.
They are the reason why most VC's have negative returns or they fare worst that the stock market.
Entrepreneurship is hard she oviously does not have any entrepreneurship experience. You could have answered that's the worst/useless feedback I have received for my pitch so that's a double record then :)) . You can make a VC look pretty stupid too if they are nasty.
I remember at a conference I asked a VC why it took 2 years to set up a team in a new country :-p.
It seemed he has made some hiring mistakes/was clueless about business in general. Just move on they don't matter :-).

Also this startup ecosystem is way to much tailored to massaging the egos fo some politicians (aka VC's).
If a VC is dumb and treats you like an asshole you make him look like that. No asshole rule works everywhere.
If a business women is usually more agressive it's he problem and more specifically the VC company culture's problem - they should have not hired her.
And yes it is a well known fact that in general busienss women tend to be more agressive than business man. I am sure if 50% of VC's would be women that would not be the case - but the hiring selection criterias are probably the wrong ones.

Posted by Sharky on 2013-08-13 09:15:58

- "experts" advice
- attending an event
- pitching
- BP review

Posted by carlwimm on 2014-06-24 15:24:30


A funny thing happens when money gets involved. The first is that Logic gets invoked. IRR, net cash, probabilities, risk, etc.

The whole discussion is couched in terms that are almost scientific.

But it covers up a Great Truth. All money is intensely personal. here is what I mean.

Money is an extension of the person who has it. It is his/her money. The numbers suggest that all money is the same. The personalities suggest that all money is different.

Cognitive dissonance, gone wild. A contradiction for the gods themselves.

The issue is not about a man or a woman here. I have met people of both sexes and a dozen colours and a hundred backgrounds who have money or front themselves as if they have money (including real estate agents and VCs, who are really just brokers/clerks for other people’s money).

The “worst ever” proclamation is merely one of a hundred different kinds of responses. Few will be honest and straightforward and helpful to you in your start up. Most of the hundred are some form of statement in the following form ...

“I have money, therefore I am a better person than you, therefore I know more than you, therefore you must genuflect to me”.

Don’t upset at this sort of person. It won’t be the last time you pay real money to be abused. It won’t be the last time you encounter this sort of insecurity and low self esteem.

A start up founder is a better man/woman than most of the people that he/she will ever encounter.
A start up founder raises his head above the crowd. He invites people to take a free shot at him, insult him, belittle him, denigrate his work and his project.

His is the nail that stands up and invites the fearful and the unworthy to “hammer him back down”. He is the future.

If a two year old said these things to you, would you be upset? No, of course not. You would understand immaturity and forgive it.

That is my technique. When I meet them, I look on all people with money as badly mannered 4 year olds. I invite them all to impress me with their wisdom, understanding and sense of live and living. If they meet my standards, we can go forward and explore mutual areas of interest.

If they cannot, they disqualify themselves form dealing with me and are left, by me, to wallow in a meaningless existence of their own making.

Try it, you will like it.

Best wishes.