I don’t work in Venture Capital but I’ve always been intrigued by the culture, the push for innovation, and the complicated methodologies behind discovering and funding successful start-ups. However, there’s also a dark side to this industry where the stakes are so high. I was recently sent this personal email exchange from someone who’s “in the biz” and received permission to share it. All the identifying personal information has been removed and you should know that the person who sent this hopes that it will give people a better insight into this small, but incredibly influential industry.
I hope this email finds you well. Although our business relationship has ended, I felt obligated to follow-up with you regarding the tense and sometimes hostile interactions that overshadowed our time working together.
Studies show that underneath our branded fleece vests nearly 70% of data driven Venture Capitalists are still human and can respond to emotional and physical stimuli. While most people think that Venture Capital is about the top .001% of the wealthiest people placing wild bets on bad faith app ideas to fleece the masses, I also think it’s about maintaining a chill attitude. With that in mind, even though we will never work together again, the gift of constructive feedback can help you grow, expand, and thrive in this field where obscene amounts of wealth gets tossed at life changing ideas like “the uber of porta potties.”
I have obsessively documented your off-hand comments on phone calls and specific instances of behavior during meetings because I myself am both very chill, and very focused on personal growth and furthering entrepreneurship. Hopefully this doesn’t come across as obsessive, vindictive, and written on the notes app at 3am, but as an honest attempt to publicly smear you with more than enough context clues for our peers to figure out exactly who this is about when I publish it on a shared document.
- Meeting Etiquette: In a board meeting last year you sat directly behind me and flicked my ears every time the presentation changed slides. This was a hefty 50 slide deck, and by the end of it my ears were very sore and my acupuncture session needed to be extended that day by almost two hours. Typically, the chairs around a conference table all face the table, but we all had to turn 45 degrees to see the presentation and so you were able to sit directly behind me. Although the rest of the board laughed at the time, they later told me that this behaviour was absolutely inappropriate and that it totally wasn’t funny.
- Potential Insecurities: On multiple investor calls you would dial into Zoom meetings shirtless and would loudly play ranked matches of FIFA on PlayStation 4. Not only would you regularly interrupt to show the group your “sick” replays but you would also routinely ask if you “looked huge” because you’d been “crushing a new Peloton routine.” Even though I don’t play video games, you never friended me on PS4 even though you made many references to playing matches with the rest of the board. Also, because none of us know how to use even basic meeting applications, we were unable to mute you or shut off your video during the course of these two hour calls.
- Seemingly Vindictive Actions: After multiple complaints in person and over email you still referred to our company as “the absolute dumbest group of people ever assembled” and that our platform is “a bad joke told by an imbecile to no one.” On a personal note, one time, while we were trying to secure our second round of funding and I was very tired from firing people, you insisted on emailing over 5 times in one night. Four of the emails contained the same gif of that dumpster floating down the street in a flood with our company name badly photoshopped over it. The final email seemed to be sent on accident as it was titled “Note to Self” and just said “Jeff sucks.” I had just returned from my monthly trip to Qatar where they had run out of first class cabins and I was forced to fly business class, making this barrage of emails even more upsetting.
I don’t know what you’ll do with this information, but hopefully you can use it to better your interactions with the entire VC community as we collectively work to build the next major platform that will be taken over by white supremacists.