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Why Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs Often Don't See Eye to Eye The National Venture Capital Association released its first brand influence study on the venture capital industry today.

By Catherine Clifford

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Everyday Idioms

Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, especially in tech-heavy regions like Silicon Valley, need each other. But, surprisingly, they don't really know what the other wants.

According to the National Venture Capital Association's first study on the role of branding in the venture-capital industry, entrepreneurs and startup CEOs seeking venture-capital funding say the most important characteristics of a VC firm are being "entrepreneur friendly" and "collaborative." Meanwhile, VCs say that they take the most care to emphasize their "hands on" nature, the study found.

Yet entrepreneurs are actually wary of VC firms that are too "hands on," according to the study, which was launched in January and surveyed venture capitalists, startup CEOs and limited partners from the NVCA and the Dow Jones Venture Source database. It was released in partnership with the branding and marketing firm DeSantis Breindel and the strategic public-relations firm Rooney and Associates.

Related: 10 Best U.S. Cities for Science, Math and Tech Grads

"There is a real perception gap between what limited partners and entrepreneurs think about the industry and what VC firms believe about themselves and their industry," says Terry Rooney, founder of Rooney and Associates, in a statement.

In the eyes of the startup entrepreneurs, the reputation of a VC firm is largely defined by the individual partners who work there, the study finds. Entrepreneurs are less concerned with the overall reputation of a VC firm or the performance of its portfolio companies than they are about the partners on board.

For example, the VC world is dominated by men, and they tend to be tone-deaf to the importance of gender diversity. The study finds that the sex of the VC partners in a firm matters more to entrepreneurs, in particular to women entrepreneurs, than VCs necessarily understand.

Related: The 7 Hottest Startup Scenes in the U.S. (Infographic)

For more on the perception gap between entrepreneurs and VCs, see the infographic below.

Click to Enlarge+

Why Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs Often Don't See Eye to Eye

Source: National Venture Capital Association

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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