GenuineVC David Beisel's Perspective on Digital Change

August 1, 2005

Every entrepreneur is a first-time entrepreneur once.

How do VCs, then, evaluate first-time entrepreneurs? How can they garner the confidence to place both their money and time in someone who hasn’t started a company before?

Of course, investors look at other past experiences as both a signal and substitute for an entrepreneurial endeavor.

A friend of mine at another firm told me that they also explicitly look for one intangible quality. For every entrepreneur who comes in to pitch they ask the question, “Does he know what he doesn’t know?

Yes, entrepreneurs know the information that they know. It is this experience and comprehension that guides them, and gives them inspiration. But what about the information that they don’t know? Are they aware of their lack of knowledge in a certain area? Or are they (blissfully) ignorant of it?

“Knowing what you don’t know” means understanding where your knowledge-set is limited. If often suggests asking for help, guidance, and additional information when it is needed. This quality doesn’t preclude someone from being confident; quite the opposite, it demonstrates self-assurance to understand your own shortcomings and seeking assistance when appropriate rather than act upon a loose foundation of information.

Venture capitalists want to be assured that their money is in knowledgeable hands. But they also want to know that those hands will look to others when they aren’t fully capable. It is much better to admit that one doesn’t know something than to act blindly without it. And it takes a special person to even realize and perceive when an area of understanding is lacking.

You know what you know, but do you know what you don’t know?

  • http://www.Startups.in Startups.in

    Quite a useful post. Do you happen to have pointers to deep hidden resources :) that provide more insight into a VCs thought process?

    Regards,NagB /at/Startups.in

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    Thank you very much. I am wonderring if i can share your article in the bookmarks of society,Then more friends can talk about this problem. links of london pendant

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  • Rob Go
     - 19 hours ago
    Cool design focused event @bladebos Nov 6. Limited seats available! http://t.co/qHjU4WBeTx
  • Lee Hower
     - 1 day ago
    @vcparty that statement is true. FRC's LP base looks pretty similar to Sequoia's though
  • Lee Hower
     - 1 day ago
    @vcparty agree. some LPs have to bend their model, though best LPs don't care much about concentration - they focus on accessing best funds
  • Lee Hower
     - 1 day ago
    @vcparty thx - would slightly disagree trad'l LPs & smaller funds are misfit… best seed funds have trad'l LP base (albeit concentrated)
  • David Beisel
     - 1 day ago
    .@andypalmer shares solid thoughts on mission, values, & social accountability for millennials in the workplace: http://t.co/wsAz5Gj7K6

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