Startups

How we made this investor cringe over and over again

A bit of media criticism and a reminder that language matters from Safeguard Scientifics' David Luk.

At Safeguard Scientifics' HQ.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

You know a piece of content is good when it haunts you throughout the day.

And David Luk’s blog post on the words often used to describe venture capital investments did just that: made me look back at how I referred to funding in the ever-present article on rounds raised.

“I cringe when I read a headline that says a startup ‘pulled in’, ‘landed’ or even ‘scooped’ new funding,” the Safeguard Scientifics principal wrote. “Or better yet, when a venture capital firm is described as having ‘placed a bet’, ‘made a bet’ or ‘cut a check’ for a startup.”

Sounds like I made Luk cringe quite a bit. There was that time I said Guru had “landed” Slack as an investor. Or that Brock Weatherup had “forked over” $300,000 for PetCoach. Or, even worse, how about that time I said Safeguard had placed a $750,000 “bet” on West Coast health IT company MedCrypt. The list goes on.

Per Luk’s piece, this kind of word usage undermines the lengthy due diligence process startups must face when going after venture dollars. Similarly, he said, it makes it seem entrepreneurs happened on some free cash when they most likely had to sell off a portion of their company.

“Let’s drop language that can undermine our industry, because while bets are made in a day, financing relationships are determined in months and years,” he wrote.

Duly noted, David. Duly noted.

Read the full post

(Editor’s note: This editor thinks Luk is spot on, except on the word “bet,” since it speaks to the gamble, however educated, that startup investments inevitably represent.)

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