They say if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Oh, well, all relative innit?
So, here’s the story. I’ve never run my own business but have closely observed other fools run theirs. CLOSELY. And I have experience, can do a thing or two.
I have a business management degree, nothing fancy, worked for General Electric, Boots and others for the last 15 years or so, then joined a public body tasked with providing business advice to entrepreneurs.
All very clean and tidy stuff.
A couple of years ago it changed. Woke up one morning and I decided I’ll do something else (well, truth is I got bored with what I was doing). So I now work for a venture capitalist. Private entity. C.R.N.Y Capital Partners or something. Shitty sounding I know, but who cares.
And as a matter of fact, we’ve just been appointed by a government department to facilitate and manage this new financing scheme. New and exciting stuff! There’s a lot of capital in this one, a pool of £45 million solid and meaty wealth!
But I don’t want to offer any of it to some random jerks for free, not to people I don’t know, who’ve not worked hard for it. Not to some idea or idiot I can barely stand. Not to anything that doesn’t fit my bill, inherent creativity, perception and personal prejudices. Not to anyone I’m intimidated by, or fear is in fact much smarter than my boss. Nothing that I wouldn’t totally and utterly buy into. It doesn’t matter if the rest of the world will find this intriguing, this process is purely subjective. If no-one working under this roof is lusting after it,even mildly, its a no-goer. Simples.
So, what I’d like to do is mix things a little. Excite things and muddy the waters a bit. I’m working to a quota, so for roughly every 25 businesses I encounter, I should be investing in only 1 or less. Lets just say hereafter, finding that elusive genius is my mission.
So in order to make work more fun, it suits me perfectly to say to one of my mates who’s in the same social circle. Come and join me, £38K + bonuses
He can finally shut the door behind his rubbish job, bin his boss & co, and since I gave him the job, he’ll have no option but to laugh at my jokes. Maybe then I’ll have some better luck in my attempts to nail that new temp who’s been playing HTG. She’s not even that hot.
Together with my mate , we’ll be in the money, making or breaking the dreams of budding entrepreneurs, or anybody else so naive as to spend hours filling in these tedious forms nobody will ever read.
All we have to do is browse through some uninteresting forms, be opinionated and frequent meetings as and when required.
We don’t need to make anything , or think strategically, or operationally about any venture. There’s no job bigger than one or two A4 worth of writing. We don’t need to have hindsight or foresight, or any other type of sight. No planning. None of that sweat of your brow bull. In fact we can be totally blind to the nature and substance of each business we encounter, it wouldn’t matter as all we have to do is turn-up at 9.30 and go home at 5.30, and once in a while pick a number.
If it suits us, and we fancy (temporarily) some new faces about the office, we can interview a handful of hopefuls in between gourmet lunches and skinny lattes [the beauty of a practically £££,£££ expenses a/c – on the taxpayer], and offer one or two internships a year, so that our trade doesn’t come across as totally lame, and we maintain our Investor in People cred. We’ll show the hopefuls our plush offices, and our shiny gleaming sign on the reception, that reads “CRNY Capital Partners”. They’ll marvel at the air-con and worship our boardrooms which interestingly still smell fresh of new furniture. After all, we barely use them.
Once in a while, someone we know, or like (or think we can push around) will show up and we’ll throw at them a couple o’ quid. He’ll think £100k is money? Huh! You are so cheap. Get over it, its loose change. Lets shake hands and I’ll appear professional.
Occasionally, we’ll pretend we’ve found the next big thing, a winner in Japan or South Korea, and hurriedly fly over to sleep in 5 star hotels, living like Kings with spa treatments and massages every other day. After all, we can afford it. This I’m reliably informed is part of, “weighing up the risk of investing”. And since government policy is that the best talent out there should be attracted to this island, its all largely justifiable. So we’ll spend 2 weeks analyzing this revolutionary start-up that hasn’t even filed its first set of accounts, and that’s promising to make us millions. Yet, if we wanted (and had any one of our seniors possessed a functional brain), we could instead have flown the geeks of this star-up outfit over to London and kept them in some budget hotel, saving the tax-payer(and our boss) some tidy sums, yet arguably still competently performing our job.
We’ll humiliate a few. Oh how fun, exciting and altogether fulfilling being the humiliator infinitely is. Aaah, what bliss, with speak so generic, language so cliche, it sounds as if we are actually clever (when infact on any given day, the guy sitting across the table, asking for the money we don’t own [but are merely distributing on behalf of the tax-payer] has more depth, insights and experience in his industry than all us combined. Although we wouldn’t dare admit it, oh no, no.).
But here’s the interesting bit. You see those business plans which we throw out, were in fact rejects even before we got to page 3. They were already rejects even before we opened the envelope (Or email attachment). They have always been rejects if our 1 out of 25 theory is anything to go by.
And that’s from someone who’s never run a business of his own. Ironic eh? Tell me about it.
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- Solyndra employee to Mark Levin: “Everyone knew that the plant wouldn’t work” (hotair.com)
- Should We Let Venture Capitalists Buy Stock In College Students? (businessinsider.com)
- Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan Launch $1B Venture Growth Fund Mithril Capital Management: UPDATED (pehub.com)
- Entrepreneurs, Gambling & the Schmuck Factor: How a Major Milestone May Hurt Fundraising (allensblog.typepad.com)
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- In Investing, There’s No Such Thing As Friends With Benefits (huffingtonpost.com)
- Is Venture Capital Broken? (blogs.hbr.org)
- “Rothenberg: Venture capitalists. They create new businesses, but they incentivize companies toward…” (rafer.net)