2,000 “no’s” a year

Allegis Capital says no to 2,000 companies a year. Since I was on stage at TechCrunch 50 seeing a bunch of startups, I wanted to have a conversation with one of the top venture capitalists in the world. Here’s the founder of Allegis Capital, Bob Ackerman, who gives me a 34-minute rundown of his view of what’s happening in the capital markets today.

My best question? “How do you earn a no?” After all, his firm says no 2,000 times a year. His answers are fun (that part of the interview starts at about 19 minutes into the video). After the camera was off he told me the best way to earn a no is not to try at all.

If you’re thinking of starting a company you should listen to this video, it’ll help you get your plans ready so you don’t hear “no” when you ask for capital.

I also ask him why, when companies like SmugMug are doing well and haven’t taken venture funds, should I take VC at all to build my company?

Oh, and don’t miss why he turned down Akamai. That’s a hillarious story, starts at about 25 minutes into the video.

23 thoughts on “2,000 “no’s” a year

  1. The average programming job is 6 figures in California. You don’t need VC here. You just need weekends and an employee handbook that permits personal projects.

    Y Combinator has people come in from the burbs in long lost parts of US on 15k funding for a reason. Nobody local would do it.

    I guess if you have a large family to drain your cash, you can’t but you probably shouldn’t be doing a startup in that case anyhow. I always thought I would need VC, but when I moved here to CA, I realized that a normal programming job earns you just as much if not more.

  2. The average programming job is 6 figures in California. You don’t need VC here. You just need weekends and an employee handbook that permits personal projects.

    Y Combinator has people come in from the burbs in long lost parts of US on 15k funding for a reason. Nobody local would do it.

    I guess if you have a large family to drain your cash, you can’t but you probably shouldn’t be doing a startup in that case anyhow. I always thought I would need VC, but when I moved here to CA, I realized that a normal programming job earns you just as much if not more.

  3. Just ho-hum trade sales and generic Enterprise offerings…pretty horrible overall market if, those are the yes’es.

    The fail-whale resume’s speak for themselves, Gassée’s Apple hell era/Be/Palm burnouts. Lara with irrational-exuberance era SGI. Ackerman with Unisoft, and bubble-era “internet appliance iPhone” InfoGear. Weinman with Interactive Applications.

  4. Just ho-hum trade sales and generic Enterprise offerings…pretty horrible overall market if, those are the yes’es.

    The fail-whale resume’s speak for themselves, Gassée’s Apple hell era/Be/Palm burnouts. Lara with irrational-exuberance era SGI. Ackerman with Unisoft, and bubble-era “internet appliance iPhone” InfoGear. Weinman with Interactive Applications.

  5. And the most important piece of advice is to remember that “no” jut means that nothing has changed. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just means you have to keep trying.

  6. And the most important piece of advice is to remember that “no” jut means that nothing has changed. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just means you have to keep trying.

  7. Rob, would like to follow scobleizer.tv but the podcast is a huge 270MB. (That’s big where I come from on 1.5Mbs internet and 8GB monthly limit). I want to watch on my iPhone (download to Mac then to iPhone) so it doesn’t need to be gi-freakin-normous. I can’t see anything on Fast Company TV about getting a small version.

  8. Rob, would like to follow scobleizer.tv but the podcast is a huge 270MB. (That’s big where I come from on 1.5Mbs internet and 8GB monthly limit). I want to watch on my iPhone (download to Mac then to iPhone) so it doesn’t need to be gi-freakin-normous. I can’t see anything on Fast Company TV about getting a small version.

  9. “should I take VC at all to build my company?”
    It is like getting a lover.
    If you run behind the one you want, things will go wrong.
    Just get the other one interested in you.

    The best is having revenue and profit as a startup company.
    Get customers or get enough eyeballs to become profitable.
    Then listen to the business proposition a VC has to sell to you.

  10. “should I take VC at all to build my company?”
    It is like getting a lover.
    If you run behind the one you want, things will go wrong.
    Just get the other one interested in you.

    The best is having revenue and profit as a startup company.
    Get customers or get enough eyeballs to become profitable.
    Then listen to the business proposition a VC has to sell to you.

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