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Need Venture Capital? Drop the Phony Commando Act

Posted by: Colleen DeBaise on April 28, 2009

Now here’s an interesting tip that came from last week’s NYC Entrepreneur week: If you’re trying to impress a venture capitalist, don’t pretend you’re a Navy SEAL.

Amish Jani, managing director at FirstMark Capital, says he sees THAT one all the time, usually when entrepreneurs are trying to snare attention via email pitches — and in most cases, it’s not true. (We suspected that entrepreneurs exaggerate revenue forecasts, but…pretending buffness?). Seriously, VCs will verify those claims of special-operations military service (and anything else that seems unlikely), so don’t make stuff up, he said.

Jani passed along the advice during a panel discussion Thursday on “Funding 101: Tips for Navigating Venture Capital.” Other handy tips that came out of the session? When sending an email pitch to a VC, put your company name in the subject line; include your phone number under the signature; and no monster attachments, ticked off Chris Fralic, partner at First Round Capital. (He seemed a bit ticked off that people seeking money from him are so clueless.)

And do some research before hitting “send,” offered Mark Davis, associate at DFJ Gotham, who suggested that entrepreneurs read his blog,, where they’ll learn that he does NOT like slide shows, so don’t send them. “Do your homework,” he says. “It shows.”

A final note: Check out investor or industry blogs, but don’t start “comment bombing” or arguing in obnoxious fashion with other posters, Jani said. That will cause a VC to ask, “what would it be like to be in a board room with this person?” Indeed. (But your comments, of course, are welcome on this blog.)

Reader Comments


April 29, 2009 12:15 AM

"Just be yourself" said Tony Shap, CEO of These day a follow up call with the e-mail goes long ways


May 4, 2009 04:28 PM

Shopping for the best termsheet is a good thing but over shopping can turn off potential investors. Building a business is not just about getting the best termsheet out there, it is also about whether you can work with the VC's as a team for the next 8-10 years.
Rana Mumtaz, CEO


September 26, 2009 10:52 AM

Awesome write up. It's absolutely ridiculous. Here's an interesting write up on on another faker. But from WW2. And the french love him.......of course.

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