Edit ModuleShow Tags

How not to start a relationship

In the last month I've had the chance to make about 50 new friends. I've suddenly become very popular with investment bankers and have been on the receiving end of over 50 emails that look something like the following:

"We met once a long time ago when I was with firm X. I'm now at firm Y. We are the blah blah blah best at blah blah most successful blah blah tied into blah blah working with blah blah blah connected with blah blah blah. Congrats on all the success at Company W. We are very interested in talking to them about blah blah strategic blah blah - can you introduce us to a high-profile-CEO."

At first I felt compelled to respond as part of my "answer every email and try to at least be polite / responsive to everyone" approach to life. After a few days, I started getting annoyed when I realized I was simply viewed as a conduit to an introduction. When I saw a few similar emails to my co-investors in at least one company, I realized that there was a complete lack of sincerity in many of these emails - it was no different than a random salesman emailing me asking if I wanted to buy a random widget.

Now, I have several good friends who are investment bankers and we have a handful of trusted ibanking relationships and folks who are our go-to ibankers. These are people who have developed a long standing relationship with me and my partners, have worked with us in good times and bad, and have always been reasonable and thoughtful about their fees, especially in situations that didn't work out.

It amazes me that 50+ people could suddenly come out of the woodwork in an effort to "build a new relationship that's not really a relationship" thinking it would give them an opportunity, or even an advantage, in the context of a set of hot companies.

When I think about the relationships I've developed, whether it be with investment bankers, LPs, co-investors, or anyone else, they evolve over a period of time. They don't require boondoggles or fancy things; they require sincerity and substantive interaction over a long period of time. Then, when there are moments of opportunity, these are the people that I go to (and hopefully who come to me.)

There suddenly seem to be an abundance of "transaction relationships" out there.

Entrepreneurs, beware.

{pagebreak:Page 1}

Edit Module
Brad Feld

Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for more than 20 years. Prior to co-founding the Boulder-based Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes widely read and well respected blogs at www.feld.com and www.askthevc.com. He holds bachelor's and master's of science degrees from from MIT. Contact him at brad@feld.com

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Executive wheels: Lots of Lexus luxury, but little distinction

These two Lexus sedans are both wonderful vehicles, full of the latest luxuries and technology, and they drive beautifully. So the question is, would you – or should you – buy one?

In booming Denver, housing’s not all that’s scarce

I’ve seen firsthand the effects of a tightening labor market, and evidence that Denver has room for not just more housing but more businesses.

Pay attention to the dancing baby

A few weeks ago, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in what has come to be known as the “Dancing Baby Case” that every business needs to know about before sending Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices to Web hosts and other companies that host third-party content such as Facebook, YouTube, Amazon and eBay.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment: