Asking for a Hustler

How do you get feedback from VCs on why they passed on your business?

Watch Eric’s answer here

If there’s one thing Eric finds frustrating about venture capital is vague passes

See, most investors are not incentivized to give a clear reason to say no.  They’d rather play it “safe” and preserve the optionality of coming back to you later if it seems that your business is actually doing well.

Frankly, this feels disrespectful. But it’s bound to happen. Here are two ways to try and get some real perspective on what may be happening.

#1 – Ask the investor directly

“Is there one thing that caused you concern about our company?” 

If you ask for generic feedback, there may be too much “analysis paralysis,” and it’s going to be hard to get an answer. 

But when you ask for just one reason or one thing that you could improve, this makes it easier for the person to respond. 

Keep in mind - if you use that “one thing” to try and convince them that they were wrong, you’ll likely just jeopardize the relationship.

Rather, if you do get feedback using this method, we recommend thanking them for their honesty, letting them know you’re addressing that piece, and ask if you can add them to your investor update newsletter.

#2 – “Pitch” to other founders

If you've been talking with investors and the conversations haven’t gone anywhere, pitch your startup to other founders. Make sure these are founders you can absolutely trust. Give them permission to drop honest and brutal feedback. 

Ask targeted and action-oriented questions like, “What is one thing you think that I should change about my pitch?”  

You can even gather a few founders into a small mastermind group to do this activity together. Each person pitches and the other people in the group give feedback for 10-15 min. This allows you all to gather input from multiple perspectives.