It drives me crazy when founders don’t understand how the world works. Once a week, right after a formal turndown, I get a founder asking me if I can introduce them to other investors.
This is a weak and stupid ask.
As some of you know, I believe in long-term alignment of interests, "funeral style."
It is how the venture business works. It is how humans work. Everyone has an agenda, even if it is a subconscious one.
A big part of our work as investors is to make introductions to our portfolio companies, friends and partners.
In business, it is better to have full-stack support or no support at all because weak links will destroy you and your company over time.
At ONEVC, we write US$250–500K checks in US$2–3M seed rounds.
We end up being a relevant, sizable investor, while not being able to take care of your financing needs. Because of that, we are experts in syndicating your round and prefer to be the first or, at most, second check in your round.
We believe in making decisions out of conviction and independent thinking.
Because of that, it is key that when we send a double-opt-in for a deal to other investors, they know that we have our reputation and LP capital behind that intention.
This is true alignment of interests.
Anything outside of that scope is weak and speculative. Given the high level of imperfect information in the seed world, great investors can't afford to help people that they are not interested in investing right now.
A weak, non-aligned intro it will hurt your startup and your reputation. As soon as another investor tells me about a company, my first question will be: have you invested already? If the answer is anything but a yes, it shows weakness.
As a founder, if you can't understand this business principle you are too naive for the business world and I hope that this post helps you.
It is more important to grasp why you are being rejected — which is why at ONEVC we are always thoughtful without turndowns — rather than trying to get more introductions from people that are not interested in aligning with you right now.
If you are rejected, don't suffer. Try to understand why and move on.
Exception to the rule:
There are times in which an introduction to other investors is applicable.
For instance, if you are too early or too late for the stage we invest. Maybe I know angels, accelerators or growth firms that can be helpful — often we make these intros.
Another situation is when you are in a market that we don't make investments, but we happened to have met, such as energy or satellites.