Smart Money Doesn’t Ensure Success

VCs are often called 'smart money,' because they are more selective about investments than the average angel investor or friends/family member. However, that doesn't mean everything they touch turns to gold. A 2009 WSJ article listed companies that raised substantial sums of money only to fail in a fairly short period of time thereafter. Equally disturbing the brief article mentions that several had raised so many rounds of financing, the original owners lost control of the business.

To me, the reminder is that business owners of promising companies should always do a "gut check" on the likelihood of success on their own business plan. Many financing sources will strike a bold, large check only to later become frustrated when things to don't work. A slower ramp up can often turn into more capital needs. More capital needs mean the founder loses more control and equity. This makes companies vulnerable to investor led decisions or even a 'triage' mentality.

I have worked with companies that took on significant amounts of capital and were able to achieve great results. Results that wouldn't have been possible without it. The ones that worked were ones where a lot of the execution risk was removed before taking the big financing. Make the sure the same holds true for your growth business plan. Don't let other people's money cloud what you know needs to be happen to be successful in the long run.

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