CEO's Notebook

Sure, the vast majority of small businesses receive funding from friends, family, and angel investors, not from venture capitalists. Nevertheless, the advice of VCs who are inundated with pitches is invaluable to anyone searching for capital.

Blueprint Ventures, which finances early-stage telecommunications-infrastructure companies, provided Inc. with its partners' "Pitch Hall of Fame" from among the 50 or so solicitations that the firm receives by E-mail each week. (The firm finances about a dozen companies a year and has never funded a company that sent it an unsolicited pitch.)

Follow Blueprint's advice: run from these techniques as you would from foot-and-mouth disease (or maybe we should say, "foot-in-mouth" disease). We print them here verbatim.

  • "Bulletin: We may have another Microsoft here!"
  • "I've attached an HTML document and several business-plan graph files to this E-mail, all of which you will need to save in a folder called (view), which you must create on your C-drive prior to having the previously mentioned files. The files can then be viewed by double-clicking on the new AIP.HTM file with your mouse pointer, which will cause your browser to open the HTML file along with its graphs for viewing."
  • "Is Bluepreint [sic] Ventures currently reviewing business plans from start-up companies? Are you funding them? Who at Bluepreint" [sic]
  • "Did you ever wonder why they don't reprogram bank computers so that if you are forced to make an ATM withdrawal, you could just type in your PIN backwards and it would call the police?"
  • "Subject: Needs
    Im about to open to public and looking for alittle backing to start. I offer web design and found huge response from live broadcasting inneractive-trying to make happan . my [Web sites] is going faster than i expected....The reason I am looking for a small invester is this is growing faster than I can produce for my exsisting clients and new ones on hold.Im lacking the immidate funds to get complety operational."
  • [a footer on an unsolicited pitch from a health-care company] "Spam is bad. Do not send it."

CEO's Notebook

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