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Insider Tips for Dealing Expertly with VCs

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

I love HBO's 'Silicon Valley' -- and my favorite characters are (of course) the investors. A quick primer for those who, for whatever insane reason, haven't watched the show yet: There are passive but calculated VCs at a firm called Raviga Capital, and then an ultra-involved angel investor named Erlich Bachman. Fresh off an exit of his own company, Bachman has turned his house into an "incubator," and lives, eats and breathes with its primary tenant: The team from Pied Piper, our heroic, hapless startup. Bachman is involved in the business in every way imaginable. It drives everyone a bit nuts, but there's little they can do about it. He fronted the space to launch the business, so he gets to set the house rules -- literally.

Roy Rochlin / Contributor | Getty Images

This setup is hilarious to me because, well, I am that dispassionate form of VC being lampooned on-screen. And I see versions of those hyperactive, early-stage investors all the time. These people had great success and now have a lot of money and time on their hands and don't want to just play the market. They want to get involved -- and so they find a promising company to invest in, and then enmesh themselves. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the investor. Some will become valued mentors. Others are just, well, bored.

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