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The most frustrating no I've gotten, repeatedly, is "We'd love to get in on this as soon as you find a lead investor".

Translation: We don't really believe in your idea or you, but if you get a big player to put some money in we'll be happy to follow them.

That is not quite what that means. Usually that means "We kind of like your idea/team, but we don't have the technical resources to fully diligence it (or manage the board after funding), so we want to wait until someone more competent is willing to take a risk on your company".

> Translation: We don't really believe in your idea or you

If they're willing to invest a small amount of money it means they think it's interesting and they'd like to basically 'bookmark' it by putting up a small amount of capital in order to receive your company updates and have a small piece of the upside if things go well, but they don't have enough understanding of the product or conviction that it will work to drop everything and make a huge investment in it. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

E.g. there are a lot of folks who own a few hundred bucks worth of Bitcoin, so is it wrong that they haven't yet invested a large portion of their net worth into blockchain/crypto? I don't think so, I think it just means they're dipping a toe in the water and trying to get a feel for what's going on.

Yes this is probably the most common one I've seen.

"We'd be in for 300k if you can find someone who leads at 500k," or something like that.

Ohhhh, that's a good one. I'll add it!

When you raise a round >$500k, talk to potential lead investors before anyone else. Defer all conversations with investors who do not lead. Ask investors before taking a meeting if they lead. If they don't or say that do and still pull that shit, immediately disengage.

Alternative translation: We believe in your idea, but have a small fund and cannot take up the majority of your funding round. Thus, we would love to invest a smaller amount as part of a syndicate.

Why not be willing to lead then?

"Lead" implies taking the largest position in the round, often but not always around 50% of it. VCs typically have a strict profile for the size of check they write -- though I think this is more prevalent at the seed stage, where funds top out pretty quickly at fairly small check sizes. I think the dynamics are probably very different from this at later stages, but then again the article (and all this discussion) is about seed funding, as far as I can tell.

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