Michael Lazerow

How to sell out to venture capital without feeling like you're a sellout

December 5, 2010: 9:48 AM ET

The CEO of Buddy Media analyzes his recent $28 million financing and offers 8 lessons for how to thrive in a fundraise.

By Michael Lazerow, contributor

The venture capital ecosystem is a hall of secrets. The rise of the venture capital blogger, notably Union Square Venture's Fred Wilson, entrepreneur-turned-VC Mark Suster and Foundry Group's Brad Feld, is a welcome first step in providing budding entrepreneurs a view into the venture world. But they are the exception to the rule. For the most part, VCs prefer to keep their entrepreneurs in the dark about how the process really works for one simple reason: it benefits them greatly.

My company, Buddy Media, raised $28 million last month. I've now closed about 10 rounds of financing for three different companies. With the most recent process still fresh in my mind, I have decided to use the experience to provide transparency into the major leagues of VC fundraising. Pulling back the curtain on the fundraising process will help entrepreneurs create more investment-worthy companies that can become large enterprises. That's good for founders. It's also good for the nation's economy, contributing to rapid job creation and continued innovation.

What follows is an anatomy of a fundraiser. I've come up with eight lessons, all of which should help entrepreneurs -- and some of which should benefit VCs, too. If you just want the top lines, they are:

  1. Be deliberate about who you raise money from
  2. Remember that VCs are pack animals
  3. Bond with the associates
  4. Avoid the shotgun marriage
  5. Be skeptical and don't always trust VCs
  6. For the VCs: Be good and you'll do well
  7. Realize that valuation isn't the only thing
  8. Think carefully about raising money from partners

But I'd recommend reading on for this entrepreneur's guide to the VC galaxy.

Read more at Fortune Finance

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