Saturday, November 03, 2007

SiliconAlley: Fred Wilson: How to Say "We're Just Not That Into You"

"SAI contributor and USV partner Fred Wilson explains that a huge part of his job is saying "No." Unlike some investors, he feels bad enough about doing this that he usually takes a few minutes to do it. Even when the problem is not the idea, but the entrepreneur (you). So don't shoot the messenger!
Saying No
That's what I do all day. Every day. Dozens of times a day. I try to reply to every email from every entrepreneur who sends us an investment opportunity. I don't achieve that goal and sometimes I don't even get close.
But at least half the time, probably 2/3 of the time, I just reply with a no. And I try to explain in each and every one why the answer is no. Because email is time consuming, the explanation is often one or two lines. Something like "it doesn't fit into our investment strategy" or "we don't invest in content businesses" or "it's too early state" or "it's too late stage". I realize that these reasons are barely useful. But at least it's better than "no thanks"..."

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