Informative Answers, Enlightening Questions

In the venture capital raising process, entrepreneurs and the VCs spend a lot of time “getting to know one-another.” In a series of conversations/meetings, both sides ask a number of questions and provide plenty of answers. A lot of time is often spent examining and considering these answers, but I believe a useful set of information is potentially often overlooked on both sides – information in the questions themselves.

For the entrepreneur, the questions that a VC asks help reveal what type of partner he (and the team) will be. Does he have a good understanding of the startup’s domain or space? Are the inquiries perceptive, building on a progressively developing understanding of the business? Are the content and the tone of the questions like ones you would want from (a) productive board member(s)? On the VC side, entrepreneurs’ questions signal a lot about their experience-level (which isn’t measured in years), their ability to interact & lead a team of people, and the capacity to search for and uncover insights.

Answers provide necessary context and information for the capital-raising process, but the questions asked reveal more about the people engaged in it.

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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