The intersection of founders and investors is a strange place: lots of smoke, lots of mirrors, lots of hyperbole and overstatement ... and at timesBuffer's totally transparent funding round.)lots of wishful thinking from entrepreneurs trying to show their startup in the best light possible. (Contrast that with
See how many of these you've heard--or said--before:
1. "I'm not looking for money, just your feedback."
Translation: "I heard this tactic works well for getting meetings."
2. "My co-founder turned down a job at Google to focus on our company."
Translation: "He applied for an internship a while back and it fell through."
3. "I had a successful exit with my first business."
Translation: "I sold my lawn-mowing clients to a friend on a commission."
4. "We're being selective on the investors we let into this round."
Translation: "We're taking every intro we can get ... which isn't many."
5. "We're taking our time to make sure we find the right partners for this round."
Translation: "Finding people to invest has been a bitch."
6. "We're seeing 20 percent month-over-month growth."
Translation: "Last month we had 10 email sign-ups; this month we have 12."
7. "Our growth has been all organic."
Translation: "All our friends are using it."
8. "We felt we were too far along to join an accelerator."
Translation: "YC rejected us--twice."
9. "We're raising money to scale quickly."
Translation: "We want to finally pay ourselves."
10. "Our competition is too big and slow to come after us."
Translation: "The market size isn't significant enough for them to care."
11. "Customer service is what sets us apart."
Translation: "We just installed the free version of Olark."
12. "We're launching public beta next week."
Translation: "Should be two or three more months."
13. "We plan to stay in beta for the next 12 months."
Translation: "We're not sure how long our shoddy codebase will hold up, so 'beta' sounds better."
14. "We want to create a very minimalist design."
Translation: "We're not designers and can't afford to hire a decent one."
15. "We've gotten outstanding feedback from our users."
Translation: "Our friends claim it's awesome."
16. "We're about to blow up."
Translation: "We hope one of our blog posts hits big on Hacker News."
17. "This is a $50 billion per year untapped market."
Translation: "I heard this tactic works for getting investors."
Before you think he's being too harsh: "For the record," Dana says, "I'm guilty of all of the above."
(If you liked this post, check out Dana's 17 Things Investors Say When What They Really Mean is, 'No.')