Saturday, November 12, 2005

Attention VCs: Entrepreneurs Are Your Customers

Attention VCs: Entrepreneurs Are Your Customers

The often thought-provoking Fred Wilson posted an essay on how VCs need to realize that their customers are the entrepreneurs in whom they invest, not the LPs from whom they raise money.

Whether you view this as insightful or a clever entrepreneur relations play (comments are pretty evenly split), it definitely makes you go hmmmm.

I've been on the receiving end of the many infamous VC tactics that entrepreneurs hate so much--always having to wait for the VC to arrive at the first meeting, never getting a clear "No," the tendency for VCs to reach for the axe whenever something goes wrong--and I never thought to myself, "You know what? I'm their customer. And if I don't like what they're doing, I can fire them."

While I have a mental list of VCs I never want to work with (please don't bother asking me for the list--I'm not suicidal, you know!), it never occurred to me that I should consider that list from a position of power, rather than weakness.

To paraphrase Tolkien, the "Ent"repreneurs are waking up, and discovering that they are strong.

I wonder what will happen if the majority of entrepreneurs come to the same realization? Fred may have started more than he bargained for....but if such a revolution comes, then the VCs who have been careful to cultivate an entrepreneur-friendly mindset will be well-positioned to make a killing.

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