You Could Be A Dork

Rick Segal is back with another great post on the mobile startup/VC space. Rick’s comedic tastes do not reflect those of UNTETHER.tv.

With apologies and props to Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck” routines.

You could be a dork…
If you have an out of office message saying you’re on the road with limited access to email. Really? Unless you are traveling on Antarctica, there’s always connectivity.

You could be a dork…
If you send out a PowerPoint deck marked confidential along with an NDA asking the VC to please sign and return the NDA all as part of one email. It’s 2012, with about a billion blog posts written about VC and NDAs, yet this still happens. Today. Like yesterday, to a friend of mine.

You could be a dork…
If you use any of the following phrases when dealing with a start up:

  • “Let’s continue the dialog.”
  • “We’d like to see more traction and proof of hockey stick growth.”
  • “We’d be interested if you got [Insert Tier One VC] to invest.”
  • “As an early stage investment, we’d prefer a 5-year revenue and expense chart.”

Seriously. Continuing the dialog is like death by a thousand paper cuts. Yep. Let’s tell the start-up gal we’d like her to de-risk the investment so we can put our money in safely. Hiding behind [Insert Tier One VC] is always an amazing brand strategy. And, of course, we all know that a seed/early stage investment always plan out and nail 5 year’s worth of revenue and expenses. Again, it is 2012 and these goof comments continue to plague entrepreneurs worldwide.

You could be a dork…
If you answered the following question wrong: Which is the better option?

  • A $5 million investment on a $5 million dollar pre-money valuation with a 1x liquidation preference.
  • A $5 million investment on a $7 million dollar pre-money valuation with a 2x liquidation preference.

Most people answer this question with a focus purely on the post money or the pre or even just the amount coming in. How did you answer this?

There really is a point to this semi-rant. When it comes to the investor & entrepreneur dance, venues may change from time to time, but the moves are generally consistent, repeatable, and (sadly) predictable. Ask around before you do it, or say it. Been there, done that, don’t be the dork.

About the author

Rick Segal

Rick Segal, is the co-founder of Fixmo. Prior to starting Fixmo, Mr. Segal was a partner at JLA Ventures, a large Canadian Venture Capital fund. Mr. Segal was President and Chief Executive Officer of Microforum, a leader in providing integrated e-business solutions in a wide array of industry verticals.

Mr. Segal joined Microforum in July 2000 from Chapters Online Inc., a leading Canadian e-commerce company, where he held the position of President and Chief Operating Officer (1997-2000). Mr. Segal began working with Chapters Inc. in 1997 as a consultant on the technical development of the Chapters e-commerce venture. Based on this successful collaboration, he was named the President of Chapters Online in August 1998.

Prior to joining Chapters Online, Mr. Segal was a partner at the international firm of TMS Consulting from1996 to 1998. Mr. Segal worked at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington from 1992 until 1996 as Director of technical services for the Internet Customer Unit. Mr. Segal is also the author of four books on Network Management and Windows software development.

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