I attended the Internet People dinner last night. Good turn out of innovative companies- which refreshingly weren’t necessarily looking for cash, but looking for conversation about their business. (more thorough overview here)
The VCs in the room (London Seed Capital, Benchmark Capital and Ariadne Capital) were definitely given a hard time by speakers and attendees alike. We are seen as a necessary evil- which is a bit disappointing really. I think if you speak to any of the companies I’m working with they would (hopefully!) have positive things to say about our involvement and not view us as the devil incarnate. Simon Murdoch, the speaker, added a very valid point: that the real input of a VC is to make an entrepreneur aim higher. Not £10 million, but £100 million, not 5% market share but 95% market share…
I suggested to more than one entrepreneur that when dealing with a venture fund, that they do their due diligence and background checks on the VC as well- pick up the phone, speak to an existing portfolio company, get the inside scoop on your new business partner BEFORE you take the cash.
[Update] Fred, sorry I butchered your last name- that’s been fixed now. It was a pre-first-cup-of-coffee post!