I had a candid discussion with one of our founders the other day about what makes for a good VC interaction in a fundraising process.
There were a lot more detailed points but what it came down to was this:
"As a founder, you're constantly doubted by everyone. And you need to sell to everyone. So when a VC comes along and says: you don't have to sell to me, I understand what you do, and I will help you make this great - that's the person you want on your side."
This is interesting because I have "first pitch" meetings that can go both ways. Ones in which I'm very critical because I see weaknesses in the model very quickly and I feel like the founder doesn't really address them. And so they stay at a "No/But" kind of level, where the founder insists on one thing and I don't quite agree and bring up lots of stuff that contradicts or challenges them.
And then there's the second type of meeting, where I get to "Yes/And" very quickly. Those meetings are great because the mental models the founders and I work from are similar. And we ping off each other in a good way and I can see how we could help.
I never get to the point where I invest if the first meeting is a "No/But" interaction. And I don't by any means invest in all the founders I have "Yes/And" meetings with.
But it did get me thinking about how I show up. As a former entrepreneur turned VC, of course you want every single company you meet with to succeed. And one of the big challenges in venture, for me, is sitting in judgement of people, having to assess models, when what you really want to do most of the time is just appreciate the great thing that they're trying to do.
I'd like to have more "Yes/And" meetings even if that means suspending disbelief for half an hour to get the energy/mindset/attitude into that place. I will work on that.