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How 'No' Might Become 'Go' in the World of Venture Funding

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This story appears in the January 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

I say no to entrepreneurs a lot -- easily 200 or 300 times a year. There are a number of reasons I give: bad timing -- it’s too late in the investment cycle or too early for the startup to get funding -- or the business model is a poor fit for our strategy, or other pending deals take priority. And occasionally, I let loose with the dreaded “Please don’t call me again.”

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These answers serve -- in my mind, at least -- as a way to move on without getting into a protracted argument. VCs aren’t smart enough nor do they have enough time to give accurate, instantaneous feedback to hundreds of business ideas on the fly. In short, the 30 seconds I spent formulating a reason to say “No thanks” shouldn’t be taken as gospel that alters a startup’s business model. In fact, VC firms often default to saying no just to find enough time to keep the rare yes moving along the lengthy due-diligence process. Savvy entrepreneurs understand this.

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