Does your VC run their business the way you run yours?

Every VC and entrepreneur knows that rapid feedback loops, ideally in the form of daily or weekly metrics, are the key to success. Yet many VCs seem to lack feedback loops in their own businesses. Which makes Andreessen Horowitz interesting — it sends the following questions to entrepreneurs who have met with the firm:

– Thinking back to when we set up your meeting with the Deal Team, how satisfied were you with the time it took to get that first meeting?
– Were you treated with respect during the pitch meeting? In other words, did the Partner take time to understand your business and ask questions in a thoughtful manner?
– After you met with us, how did you receive a follow-up response?
– Did you get a follow-up response when it was promised?
– How would you rate the clarity, transparency and usefulness of the response itself?
– How did your experience at Andreessen Horowitz compare to that with other VC firms?
– How likely are you to approach us for future fundraising?
– How likely are you to recommend Andreessen Horowitz to a friend or colleague?
– How could we have made this a better experience for you as an entrepreneur?

The questions are great, and they try to make them easy to answer (most have clickable answers on a scale of 1-5 or a simple drop-down). And yet… I suspect this survey gets a low response rate. How would you redesign this to get a higher response rate?

4 thoughts on “Does your VC run their business the way you run yours?

  1. The survey itself is already seems simple enough. The only thing they could do is consolidate to 3 or 4 top questions and then leave the rest to notes to capture the things less important. Other than that, it’s just a matter of incentive and committing their time.

    Cheaper way: (assuming a16z didnt do this already) Tell the entrepreneurs by filling out the survey it will help them deliver better service to entrepreneurs they work with in the future. If they come up with another brilliant idea in a couple years they will be incented to help.their future selves.

    Expensive way: Could offer a little extra funding ($50k or less) to hold in escrow at time of investment so they fill out the survery at t=0 and then survey completion funds are released at t+1 if they beat their milestones.

  2. These days, any feedback that can be perceived as negative unfortunately falls into the category of “inappropriate professional behavior.” And since I doubt survey subjects would feel their anonymity would be protected (if there is even an attempt at this within how the survey functions)—especially if the meeting with the VC firm was recent—so…Ergo, it might be a lost cause to assume a survey like this can be successful. But maybe others have ideas that I don’t.

  3. I think the better question is how honest is the feedback.

    If someone just got rejected, they’re likely to leave overly harsh feedback. If they got funding (or were still in the running), overly positive.

    Either way, I think the best solution in this case would be for them to setup a post-mortem interview at the end of the pitch. Then have a trained interviewing professional conduct the interview.

    That person could then parse the responses (and attitudes of the interviewees) to fill out the answers to the questions.

    High response rate and hopefully solid feedback.

  4. Why do you think it will get a low response rate? I would imagine that it gets a VERY high response rate.

    The comments made earlier make a good point that the problem might be honesty from companies still in process. If a company is still hoping to get an investment from the fund then they will try not to say negative things about any experiences since they don’t know what the repercussions might be.

    For those who have already been rejected by the fund I would expect a high response rate AND more honesty.

    Would be interesting to hear from someone at A16Z as to how this is working out for them.

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