Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Everything I know about Venture Capitalists

When I worked as a nanny I looked after a little girl who was happy and robust and a natural horsewoman.
Her parents weren't together and her dad occasionally came to the house to pick her up. He was a Venture Capitalist and would tower over her in the doorway in a dark suit, frowning and asking her about trends in her examination results and adding value to their downtime by going to the park together. I kissed her head and said 'have a nice time darling' but really I wanted to stand in between them, stare him down and say 'back away from the child' in a menacing voice.

Ten years later I found myself in a Venture Capitalist's office waiting to discuss Grasshopper and our need for investment. The room was small with a coffee table in the middle; similar to the ones they take you into in hospital to tell you that your entire family has been wiped out. 

I tried to relax but unfortunately Tony was there against his will and he was doing everything in his power to make me look mentally weak [AE: Tony is Fleur's imaginary friend who tells her what to do, see 'How we make decisions...' entry]

This is how the meeting went:

VC1: Thanks for coming; I like the product. I eat porridge every day, not organic...I found yours far too smooth, I don't know who would want to eat it like that. Also, no-one surely cares if it's organic or not, my daughter did say that it was convenient though.'

Fleur: 'Yes, it is a convenience food'

VC2 'I've taken a look at the financial forecasts you sent and I have to be frank: they are very aggressive and appear to be wholly unsubstantiated. Do you have any advanced orders to back them up?'

Fleur: (Like Paxo on University Challenge) 'Nnnn-ope'

VC1: 'I really do like the product. Obviously it is over-packaged and doesn't taste very nice, the price is also far too high but I do like it.'

Fleur: 'Good'

VC1: 'We want you to know that we are really interested in this project although of course I haven't run it by my boss yes and he is very unlikely to like it at all but I really like it.'

Fleur:  (losing the will to live, considering the option of opening a vein) 'I see'

VC1: Moving forward I'm really excited about this and really think that if you can make this business profitable in the next month then it would be really great to talk again.' (Translation: you are a joke, your business is a joke, come back when you are in profit and I may offer you a small amount of money [AE: Which we wont need by then because we will be in profit] for half of your business. I'll then use a loophole in a sub-clause of the shareholder's agreement to get you and your sister sacked from your own company; guaranteeing you a life of lost opportunity and bitterness and me a summerhouse in Portofino.)

VC2: 'I hope that you've found that useful'

Fleur: 'Yes, very, thank you both so much for your time and expertise'

Tony: 'I can't believe you just said that'


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