What VCs Want: More Lessons from the Shark Tank

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Have you ever said or heard said “I'm certain I have a good business idea, but I just can't seem to get it funded.”?  Assuming you've adequately vetted the idea, business plan in hand, your pitch perfected, and still no takers, the idea may not necessarily be bad.  Rather your proposed business doesn't ‘do a job' the money folks, or venture capitalists (VC), want done.

According to Professor Clayton Christensen's jobs-to-be-done
framework (remember Lessons Learned from Katie Couric), whenever a VC invests money, he or she is hiring that investment to do a job for him or her.  It's partly about making money, but it's also about their hiring the business — which is in many ways an extension of their identity — to positively reinforce that identity.

To illustrate my point, let's take another look at the reality show Shark Tank.  Four of the five sharks are men.  Will Ava the Elephant, a children's medicine dispensing product or Plus Size Women's (Start at  Minute 31) clothing appeal to them?  Not so much.

Technology?  Sports?

Take a look at this clip beginning at 31 minutes:  if you are outside of the U.S., click here.

Yup, you got it.

Shark tank ep 10

Throughout the series, the male sharks were shrewd, detached.  Not so in negotiating a deal with JumpForward, a mobile application that prevents college sports recruiting violations.  Robert twirling the pen says everything.  Hiring this deal to make money appears almost secondary.  One nearly wonders
who is the bait.


For women entrepreneurs:
If your business isn't getting funded, maybe you'll need to bootstrap longer.  Or rework the pitch so the VC community sees this as a job they want done; in the ‘outside reality-TV world, 90-95% of VCs are men.

For Male VCs:
Take a look at the deals your peers have dismissed.  There is likely some pay dirt amidst the perceived dross for which you'll pay a lot less; maybe even boost your return-on-investment (ROI).

Venture capital




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