The Rick Roll. It’s classic. Some might even call it legendary. Rick Roll your friends & family. Rick Roll your co-workers. Heck, Rick Roll me. We will all belly laugh as “Never Gonna Give You Up” blares on our computer speakers. But please don’t Rick Roll venture capital firms.
By Rick Rolling a venture capital firm, I mean don’t attempt to bait and switch or otherwise mislead venture capital firms with your startup company’s pitch. They won’t find it very funny and they have seen it all before.
Here are some common venture-capital-pitch Rick Rolls:
A flock of fancy employees are on the way. Don’t talk about all the great Google execs that are coming onboard as soon as your startup gets funding without evidence to back up your claims.
Company X is our partner. “Partner” is an ambiguous term which leads to additional ambiguous language. Don’t go on and on about how you’ve “talked” with some “key executive” at Company X and how “excited” they are to become “involved” with your startup.
Company Y will want to acquire us. Don’t speculate about your exit strategy to a venture capital firm before you get funding. First, you should be more concerned with demonstrating the greatness of your startup’s idea and your startup’s ability to implement the idea, rather than hypothesizing about an event that might happen 7 years from now. And second, the venture capital firms will have access to better speculators than yourself.
My startup is the only one with this idea! Oh really? Have you checked every garage and co-working space in the world? I’d be willing to bet 25 others have your idea. Focus on the implementation of the idea rather than its extreme novelty.
While your venture capital firm might enjoy Rick Astley (it’s hard not to like a guy who sings and dances while sporting a raincoat with clear skies overhead), they won’t like being mislead by your startup company’s pitch. They’ve been Rick Rolled enough by other entrepreneurs to see yours coming. And they’ll likely feel your startup is unworthy of funding.
For another article about how to pitch venture capitalists, click here.