Diane Mulcahy shares an article published in the Harvard Business Revue that identifies myths surrounding venture capitalists.
Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin: We celebrate these entrepreneurs for their successes, and often equally extol the venture capitalists who backed their start-ups and share in their glory. Well-known VC firms such as Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia have cultivated a branded mystique around their ability to find and finance the most successful young companies. Forbes identifies the top individual VCs on its Midas List, implicitly crediting them with a mythical magic touch for investing. The story of venture capital appears to be a compelling narrative of bold investments and excess returns.
The reality looks very different. Behind the anecdotes about Apple, Facebook, and Google are numbers showing that many more venture-backed start-ups fail than succeed. And VCs themselves aren’t much better at generating returns. For more than a decade the stock markets have outperformed most of them, and since 1999 VC funds on average have barely broken even.
The VC industry wouldn’t exist without entrepreneurs, yet entrepreneurs often feel as if they’re in the backseat when it comes to dealing with VCs. For someone who’s starting (or thinking of starting) a company, the myths surrounding venture capital can be powerful. In this article I will challenge some common ones in order to help company founders develop a more realistic sense of the industry and what it offers.
Key points include:
- Start-up funding
- VCs and big risk
- Advice and mentoring
Read the full article, 6 Myths About Venture Capitalists, on HBR.org.