Paying attention to the anti-VC opinions

When I first became a venture capitalist, I remember a friend of mine saying, “So you’re joining the dark side”.

He said it in a joking manner but he also was trying to make a point.

The thing is for as long as I’ve been involved with startups there has always been pointed opinions about venture capitalist. I get that completely. Over the last 15 years, I’ve personally worked with some of the most amazing VCs and some duds as well.

A few weeks ago, Vivek Wadhwa on TC took VCs to task with a post – What Have VCs Really Done for Innovation? And yesterday, Paul Kedrosky wrote a response post on TC, Why I love Venture Capitalists, which was promptly linked and tweeted by a number of VCs.

Even though I took exception to a number of points in the Vivek’s post and enjoyed a number of Paul’s opinions, I think we VCs should pay closer attention to the customer.

Who’s the customer?

Depends who you ask. Larry Cheng believes the VC’s customer is the limited partner (firms that invest in VC funds). With respect, I don’t think that is right. I agree with Fred’s post that the VCs customer is the entrepreneur.

And while some VCs will say that the anti-VC commentary is simply the fact that most entrepreneurs and startups are “passed over” which breeds resentment, I think we still need to pay attention to the feedback & pay attention to the customer.

There is no doubt we can all do better.