We at ArzanVC have been in the game for a while now, eight startups, different countries, hundreds of pitches, meetings and ambitious entrepreneurs. With all of this, we as VC’s have had our ups and downs, our challenges and we’re learning more lessons as we go.
These lessons have helped us develop few principles while communicating with founders, here are some:
1- We manage expectations in the first meeting
We’ve been working on reducing the time we need to make a final decision. We value the founder’s time and we know that they want the funding to focus on building their product. But taking the decision to invest in a specific startup is not that easy. We need to do our research; we need to analyze the company and the market as thoroughly as possible. No matter how big the fund is, it’s still limited, and we are judged by the quality of startups we pick and the return they bring.
2- We don’t discard what we don’t know
The most interesting and valuable ideas are the ones that we don’t understand at first. Instead of discarding what we don’t know, we turn to our advisors. We made sure that our advisors are not ‘domain-experts’ because then they might be stuck inside the box. Our advisors are successful entrepreneurs who understand how a new concept can be disruptive.
3- We ask as many questions as we can
We don’t have the answers for everything, which is why we need to know the questions we ask. It can open up new avenues and new patterns; tough questions can also help the entrepreneur understand their business from all angles and give them new lines of thought.
4- We make the decision clear
Saying no is always very difficult but we try a different approach, we tell entrepreneurs why we are saying no. We give them valid reasons, pointers for improvement and we keep the line open for future communication
5- We do not follow other players blindly
When we started, entrepreneurs complained about our extensive due diligence exercise. They compared us to other VC’s and mainly the ones that are located in Silicon Valley. After analyzing the situation we kept our extensive due diligence, we did not follow other VC methods, but we refocused our attention to more relevant information that reflected the startup stage. Therefore, we did what made us comfortable but at the same is understandable to entrepreneurs
These are just a few of the things we’ve learned; our list can go on for days. We always keep in mind that being a successful VC requires an open mind and the willingness to learn and adapt to new things.