The gentle ways in which investors turn startups away

I interned with a venture capital firm a few years ago. One of the many things it opened my eyes to was the way in which they turn away startups they're not interested in. Watching shows such as Shark Tank (in the US) or Dragon's Den (in the UK), you'd think they would spit on uninteresting startup businesses and laugh the founding team out of the door. In reality, investors are more shrewd. If by some chance your startup gains traction, and starts to take off, they don't want the startup team turning away the investor's money later on.

Here are a couple gentle ways in which they, instead, turn startups away.
  • They'll try and convince you that you don't need their money. You can do without it. You're better off bootstrapping.
  • They'll explain why VC money is a little evil, "taking advantage of entrepreneurs".
  • They'll offer compromises, such as introducing you to people who may be more interested.
  • They'll tell you what they don't like about your model, and that you need to fix it to be successful (... this can be useful).
All, in all, you have appreciate that they are trying to be as nice as possible in all they do, even when it can all be sometimes a bit of a pretense.