Need to vent after being ripped to shreds on an investor pitch :(

by dorkvader23. Posted on Sep 12, 2020    228    144

Before everyone here attacks me - I know not every investor is going to think you’re building anything valuable. I get that you should take their feedback and move on.

But I need to vent after a particularly ROUGH investor pitch meeting. Actually it was a practice pitch. I found it on meetup and thought I could get some pointers as well as concept validation & feedback. There were 4 investors on the call.

Most of them evaluated my pitch & product, gave me useful feedback on what I could be doing better and why they would or would not invest. And then there was Bob. (Not his real name.)

Bob challenged me on every detail of my pitch, which I expected (that’s the point right?) But then he became LOUD, yelling, asking me questions and talking over me during my answer. When we were talking about competition, I listed a number of my competitors - intentionally choosing large/med/small companies and highlighting our differentiators.

Bob happened to be familiar with a competitor I hadnt heard of before. They were a very small company overseas who are working on something in the same vertical but not the same product. Anyway when asked me how I’m different from “company x” I simply admitted I was unfamiliar with them.

Then bob lost it. How could I not know the name of every single company on earth building an AR product? He said he did not take me seriously as a person or a founder, that I have no business starting my own company, that I am uneducated and uninformed, that my idea has no real value, and that he would never invest in me as a person.

I was totally dumbfounded. I get it, I made a mistake and should have known the name of that one obscure startup overseas but I didn’t. I thought the purpose of going to practice pitches was to get critiqued, not attacked. It was awful to be embarrassed in front of so many of my peers and strangers during what was supposed to be a workshop.

Anyway maybe my mistake warranted his comments but regardless I need to vent after a hard day :(



unless you're already a rich, successful founder, or already have a product with users/sales, you really have no business trying to raise money.

you're just wasting everyone's time, including your own.


Hey, go back to that group, curse him out and demand they ban him from it. Then send a box of COVID to his house, he needs it in his life.

Last bit was a joke, but I mean, if you have some laying around...

ohioguy1942 1

Curious to hear Bobs side of it. As a light angel investor it never ceases to amaze me how many early stage folks are so in love with their idea and the “play house” stage of pretending to start a company, that they neglect to do the easy part: research the space thoroughly, for months and talk to every competitor and customer you can. Having competition is good, not being able to explain how you’re doing it differently is bad. Half the people who approach me with their idea aren’t even aware of the top 5 results when I search for their concept in the App Store on my phone. Not saying this is you, couldn’t possibly pass judgement without knowing more about the companies involved. AR does not seem like that big of a space (I recently launched an AR app and had to figure out what sdk to use, took me 4 weeks to figure out).


Don't take it personally. You get attacked. So what? Deal with it!

Yeah, Bob might be a dick. OK, and? What are going to do when you are trying to sell your product, amd your potential customer tells you to fuck off?

Just keep going....

Musculuskleidus 1

This should teach you a great lesson. Whoever, despite posing as an authority, can and will bluff or play you in business world.

The key takeaway should not be that you should have known about your competition (too many factors why you also should not) but that you will deal with such people everyday and that you should learn to stand your ground and argue your way out (If it is worth arguing) even in situations when you have no cards in your hands and your opponent acts like having royal flash.

graiz 1

Every profession has its A-holes. Sorry, you had to meet Bob that way.

If it went down like you describe he likely ostracised himself from other investors too. Sorry, you had a bad day... but he has to live with himself his whole life.

DiamondHyena 1

Fuck Bob. There are a lot of douchebag VC's in this business.

muchbravado 1

VCs are usually just people who failed to become entrepreneurs themselves and so they do this instead. A lot of them have some serious emotional stuff going on because of that. I find the best thing to do is look at it from a "what would Jesus do" perspective, and not in a religious way, more in the sense of trying to understand that they wish they were in your shoes and not the other way...

deano8595 1

real investors would not argue with you like that, if they are not interested they would say something like “its a competitive space and they are not interested in investing”

Stay positive, try and distinguish your product and improve your value proposition.


BigFalconRocketeer 1

Let's face it, Bob is an asshat. You don't want that type of person as an investor. On the other hand, if you're trying to find a bright side to this shitty experience, now you'll never want to meet another Bob and, although some of those jackasses come up with irrelevant questions out of nowhere, next time you'll either consciously or subconsciously over-prepare and kill it! Keep at it!

killstimehere 1

“Excuse me, did you just get impatient with me”

If he doesn’t apologize say, ‘listen here you little cunt’.

Don’t ever feel sorry.

And work hard.

TechnicalExample 1

Had a similar experience with some VCs as well. If anything, this gives you a good perspective on what the long term vision will look like if they decide to invest. You’ll need to understand that they will make mistakes and you’ll hear a lot of, “No” before you get a single yes.

Take a breather, and then come back and back into it again.

PGHNerd 1

Sometimes people entrench themselves and a predefined position. They will argue their point 100% of the time and approach new ideas in negative ways. While it sucks, I will say, that you will experience this more frequently than you’d like. Take what they say, assess it, but don’t take it to heart.

I find when this happens to me, there is always some small piece of the conversation that is valuable and the rest is just a power move on their part.

Ashishpayasi 1

Appreciate your frank disclosure, when you are done with anger evaluate his pointers without judgement and emotion. See if you find value in his argument not accusations. Anything thay helps you improve, do suggest that anything that does not help drop it.

This is a start of your journey and you will find people who will not believe in your idea or vision but that tests your belief in your vision. If you give up you cannot really succees, you have to believe in your idea more than your existence and it will work.

All the best.

baseball_guy 1

What was the company you hadn’t heard of?

zinboo 1

Maybe his coke went bad, a maybe your nose reminded him of a school bully. Write that loser off he’ll never create anything of value. You will

charbelf 1

Bob is probably trying to shut you down because he already invested in the other said company.

Cultural_Beyond8851 1

The good news is you now know about a competitor you didn’t know about.

AirWillBeBud 1

If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole.

Sounds like in your case it was the former.

nnnm_33 1

Yeah honestly, it’s one of those things where you just gotta be like- ok then, thanks for the feedback

hegezip 1

sounds like a case of the wednesdays

PaulShouldveWalkered 1

Guy’s got more than a couple of complexes that lead to him feeling (fake) powerful putting someone down when he is in a position of (fake) financial power as a (fake) investor. He’s a sad person and has seen one too many episodes of shark tank or American Idol. Pity him and remember to never get so pathetic that you would treat others this way in the future.

I’d say he still offered you a lesson, just not one that you were looking for.

fuzzy_bat 1

I think the only one who embarrassed themselves was Bob. Regardless, I hope it was a good learning experience to stay composed in the moment and not completely break down.

There will be more Bobs out there, that's life.

nextstepfinder 1

Keep in mind Bob may have had a rough breakup behind him, may have been hangry, or been long tesla call options last week and lost half his savings.

I like to sympathize with people. It seems easy to label him as a bad person but maybe he has had really poor experiences that led him to this outburst (or to repeat outbursts). Life fucks over many people who started as well-meaning kids in the long run unfortunately.

AggressiveFeckless 1

I’m a partner at a small PE fund and ex-entrepreneur. Bob is a dick with a small penis and his behavior was unwarranted and counterproductive. Dismiss it.

insinsins 1

Fuckin Bob.

Novel-Scar-7262 1

Bro, I feel you. You can message me and I'll tell you an idea to get this going.

PlanetMazZz 1

Boohoo tbh

frankielyonshaha 1

Yeah Bob sounds like an asshole. The minute he started interrupting you, you need to start looking to remove him. If your investors don't respect you enough for common decency, they're not going to respect you enough to give you money.

WillyM35 1

Have you ever pitched to a large cap? They all are like that. Bob did you a favor and showed what it’s like trying to play with the big boys. This isn’t shark tank.

KidKarez 1

It sounds more like bob just wanted to put you down to try to bring himself up. Just keep grinding, sounds like you are on the right track.

GreenGene7 1

Dude sounds like someone who has low self-esteem and leaves random bad reviews online.

I’ve met “Bob” before in life. Don’t let it get you down.

deepneuralnetwork 1

Yeah, fuck Bob. If an investor starts yelling at you, it's time to tell them to go fuck themselves & hang up in their face.

D4G5D43 1

Keep your head high you got this!

Narzerus 1

I once had a similar experience, once where this guy started attacking me personally and used me as an example of what “not to do” in front of my peers.

I was so frustrated I went to the bathroom later and shed a couple of tears to myself. Only after, someone explained to me that because of the bad english I had back then, I kind of insulted this guy by using words that made me sound cocky and condescending.

Not saying that this is the same, but I think I can understand a bit how you feel... not a great experience to be humiliated in that kind of contex. I’d definitely follow the advice from other people here, take what he said with a grain of salt, and yeah, he’s probably just an actual asshole as opposed to the guy in my story.

theinfinite0 1

You shouldn’t care about Bob’s opinions.
You shouldn’t be phased by Bob’s show.
Bob sounds like a wannabe/try hard. Yeah he may have some accomplishments under his belt but that is not the kind of person you have to deal with on a day to day basis.

LongLiveMunson 1

Well id definitely fart towards that guy

runvnc 1

Personally I think the appropriate thing to do once it is clear he is being abusive and not giving feedback is to try to interrupt him and tell the other people thank you and that should not associate with this person and then get off the call. And if you can't interrupt then just hang up rather than being abused.

15458434 1

There's to type of people. Agreeable people and conscientious people. Bob was clearly of the conscientious type. Learn to detach yourself in situations like this and see it as valuable feedback. That Bob loses himself over this is his loss and it helps you put Bob in a different light.

NewFuturist 1

Don't freak out too much. There are a lot of proper psychos in investing. I would reach out to the other investors on the call. They may still want to give you a try. I'd certainly be pissed if someone acted like that toward someone I wanted to hear from.

DashAndGander 1

Curious about the AR bit, can you roughly describe what you are doing without giving anything away?

davidjytang 1

Been there. Unless there is more to your story, I think once a while there is bound to be an unprofessional comes along, in this case, an unprofessional VC.

I want to congratulate you for gaining a level in being a founder.

Now, I’ve been attacked like this before. What I’ve done in aftermath has only been, to revisit the encounter with calm and reason, improve what you can and move on.

Some tries to establish presence and prestige with their arrogance though. There is almost always nothing to support their facade.

MGreeNHooD 1

To join the chorus - Bob is just an asshole. Maybe he had a bad day but damn.

I would email the other investors to thank them for their feedback and ask them if you should expect to talk to more people like Bob in the future. I bet one of them will respond with a helpful explanation or rebuke of Bob’s behavior.

jodibusch 1

"Bob" just outed himself as someone you would NEVER want as an investor. Furthermore, the group allowimg Bob to act like that and not shutting him down was highly unprofessional for a practice pitch night.

seeking investment is a 2-way street. These people also have to convince you they are the right investor for your business.

Take a deep breath, I've done hundreds of pitches for start ups. A Bob is not typical, but unfortunately you do run into these clowns from time to time. how you handle yourself while experiencing that level of irrational ego-masturbation is far more telling of your character and leadership ability.

Sometimes panels will throw a "Bob" at you to see how you deal with the jackals.

Sometimes, a "Bob" is freaking out because he invested in a similar company and your concept is infinitely better than his pet project. he's livid and will do anything to stop you from getting funded. Minute by minute, he is seeing his potential ROI go down the drain.

If you find yourself being harassed by a potential investor who refuses to communicate with dignity, shut it down, walk away. I have had countless investors chase after me after i shut down the Bobs on investor panels, offering private meetings with their VCs. Having the balls to shut down abuse from a "potential" investor demonstrates you have what it takes to make the tough calls for the long term vision of your business.

A leader knows when to shut down a clown. When possible do it with humor, when you cannot, walk out with class. A leader has the profile of his/her ideal investor locked down.

Bobs inherently give themselves away, like Karens.

You aren't here to pitch to AHs or Jacka$$es.

funkydunk- 1

Fuck Bob.

Bob is angry at himself.

Don’t be like Bob.

MahoganyTownXD 1

If the AR stands for Augmented Reality, then your time will come. That person was too small-minded to see your vision. Stay strong.

strand42 1

Had my own version of this today - stay strong!

Special_favour 1

This negativity is something I’ve come across as well but in a much more mild form. Every entrepreneur goes through some form of this, especially as you develop your idea early on. First I was told our tech will never work. Now it works. Then I was told I was in the wrong industry. Now I have customers in that industry. Then I was told our B2B customers won’t see a benefit from our service. I now have case studies from different customers outlining that benefit. Then I was told my competitors have way more resources and will develop a better product. We’ve created a better customer proposition with 1/50 of the resource pool. It’s all impossible and worthless from an outside perspective until you do it. In my opinion, your background doesn’t matters. Doesn’t matter if you went to Stanford, MIT or Oxbridge. I care about what qualities you show day to day. Own something and deliver on it. If you don’t know how, ask for help.

Don’t ever let anyone bring you down ever. No matter what they say. A quality you should radiate as a founder is persistence. People tell you all the time, you can’t do this or can’t do that. Why don’t you do this or do that.

It’s not their business it’s yours. You have the most up to date information and it’s up to you and your team to make decisions. Be factual. I don’t know but I’ll find out is a good answer always. Everything is doable.

Prove them wrong! Prove Bob wrong.

Most importantly, if Bob reacted the way he did you don’t want to work with a douche nozzle like that anyway. It’s your gain in the long run.

Tonytonni 1

Hey 👋
First bob sounds like he wants to be mr wonderful from sharktank, but failed to get a spot.

Secondly that’s very unprofessional of him pointing out and acting surprise that you are not familiar with 50> of your direct and indirect competitors.

On the side note, I’m currently building a UX design analysis library and I have analyzed hundreds of tech companies: and I’m getting overwhelm with the amount of competitors Spotify have,that being said it’s impossible to be aware of all your competitors that’s out there

In the future you could go along this line by saying; sorry I haven’t heard of them, but I’m willing to look up on them and see where our differences are!

And like soulmagician pointed out, investors comes in many different shapes. But see this as a blessing, if you do pitch in the future, you know what to expect if you come across “Mr wonderful”

RawmanNumeroUno 1

Sounds to me like you just had the worst scenario possible and now you won't be scared this would happen next time. Take it as a learning experience.

sidneyramos 1

what a dickhead

audaciousmonk 1

Sounds like he either feels compelled to “get his voice in” or he’s shilling that other company.

Either way, see this as a learning experience.
1) Take his feedback (with a grain of salt), dissect it and see if there are any useful lessons to be learned.

2) Use situations like these as practice for dealing with difficult people. Moments like this are golden opportunities to improve your EQ, or to shine for other investors. People are generally impressed when you handle difficult people / situations / line of questioning while remaining calm and collected.

There will always be difficult / unpleasant people. Some you will want something from in business interactions, some are skilled and can contribute in their way, others are relatively useless and are unable to add value. Being able to handle each type is a valuable skill

CiaranCarroll 1

I had a similar experience with "mentors" before. There is a French expression: it's not enough to succeed, but that my friends fail.

Themostepicguru 1

Some guys are assholes. But that's kind of what the game is about. You need to build up that thick skin for those types of people. You're an entrepeneur. People will tell you what you can and cannot do all the time. (the overwhelming majority will shit on you) You just need to learn to keep your head down and truck along. Determine what is and isn't valuable to you.

SaigonNoseBiter 1

Bob's just a dick.

NextGenCanadian 1

Mate, sorry for this experience!

I can’t give you the perfect answer, but what I can tell you is that you should try to channel this negative energy into continuing to build something great!
Show the naysayers what you got going on!
Don’t let them get you down!

Bhangraholic84 1

“Do you know every investor in the world, Bob? You don’t. You only track the ones that matter. So do I.”

SeriousPuppet 1

roll with the punches. you'll come across Bob's here and there. fuck 'em.

if he's got valid points, then great. but a lot of his stuff seemed to be attitude driven. or maybe he thinks he's helping you by being tough. and maybe there's some truth to that. (the movie Whiplash explores this theme).

regardless, take a couple days to lick your wounds and then emerge stronger.

alsostefan 1

You can't prevent meeting 'Bob' types, they're part of life. Sometimes their attitude has a rational foundation (you really missed something), sometimes not.

Try to silence the person quickly by acknowledging that your company maybe isn't for him/her and that you'd be happy to discuss their points in depth after the session. You'll want to prevent Bobs from gaining momentum and start a pitch-fork movement. I've seen this happen at product demos two or three times and it wasn't pretty. If presenting to a larger group make sure you have at least one friend in the crowd (who's not a stakeholder in your company) to have an independent counter voice, this really helps preventing people in doubt from following the only outspoken voice.

You can try to discuss with 'Bob' privately, sometimes these kind of people act completely bipolar and can be convinced to switch sides, after which you have a fanatic / believer. Only do this if this is the kind of person you'd want to go out and talk about your company.

waret 1

I mean at some point you should tell the other side you are dead to me if it’s getting there
People are being more aggressive if they feel you fear them
Anyway personally i dont think every founder should be steve jobs and every product ios to be appealing for investors or be a success story
This is a hoax.
If your product is successful aka has users and make money or future outlook then you wouldn’t have issue finding an investor

beartao 1

Yeah this is why I don't talk to most VCs they all seem to think they're the Medici's or something.

If you have a solid idea try crowd funding it first, cut out these sorts of leeching middlemen if at all possible.

desiluke1080 1

Only your payng customers should have a say, no one else

fpswilly 1

Bob is invested overseas and is scarred of your talent, skills and drive. He wants you to crash and burn so his investment doesn’t get sunk by you, the next Jeff Bezos. Enjoy your victories along the way pal, I’ll be reading case studies about your successes very soon.

pwo_addict 1

Not knowing every competitor is no big deal, I’ve handled this by just saying “haven’t heard of them, what do they do?” And then I can answer a question about them as competition. If it’s a major player or incumbent you should know, but not every possible company.

ilovefeshpasta 1

Should have replied him : and what do you think of an app that learns you manners and how to lower your self could see some value in that kind of app no?

mpinnegar 1

Just imagine it as a live fire exercise. Now you know what the bottom is like.

RobertB44 1

My first ever investor pitch was similar. It was only one guy, but he tried his best to make me look as stupid as possible. He had a very aggressive way of expressing himself, but he had some solid points. I learned from it and moved on. It was frustrating in the moment, but I got over it after a few days. You will too. Good luck for future pitches!

bluboxsw 1

He wasn't fooling you or anyone else on the call as to what he is.

Lucky-Tron 2

I was ripped apart during a pitch competition for having unrealistic development goals based on my budget. That was 2 years ago. Now I have built both startups and taught myself to code. Investors don’t always know as much as they think.

iamarddtusr 2

You are the best judge of the value you bring in. Being in that position will not automatically get you the resources you need, but that does not change the fact that you are the best judge of the value you bring in!

Next time when a Bob loses his cool, turn to the other investors and feel free to choose to ignore Bob. If he is important to other investors in the room, walk away from the bad situation. You have enough to take care of as an entrepreneur, you don't want babies with money on your board.

If other investors continue to remain interested while Bob remains himself, you are within your rights to tell him that him being invited to this was a meeting and clearly you as a founder will not work with him as an investor. He is free to leave at this point or let the meeting with the other investors continue.

realdanknowsit 2

Ouch. Some “investors” are nothing more then pikers that get a psychopathic woody having people pitch them just to rip them apart like a starving pit bull.

I have pitched many times and when I come across these gems I simply interrupt their rant to tell them that I am not interested in working with them and then I use my Jedi powers to throw it back to them about how I know it’s a lot of money for them and that the risk to them must just be to high.

Play to the piker in them, and you might end up with someone investing just to prove they have the money and are not scared of your deal. The best feeling will be declining their money since unless you have steel skin you never want that type of investor because keeping someone like that under control is nearly a full time job.

againer 2

The world is full of assholes man.

tvaltinos 2

Do not take people like "Bob" seriously. The only thing you should get from this is that maybe you should be more well prepared but THATS IT! Nothing else. And even if you were uneducated tell Bob he could not come up with a good idea to pursue..thats why he ended up in just investing on those. Good luck with everything..keep hustling and always do your homework. Cheers..from the founder of Mapped!

plasmaau 2

You received awful feedback from that person, don't take it to heart, I'd shrug it off.

You sounded prepared, and you took the initiative to have a practice pitch, that's fantastic, not being aware of a competitor (after having found several like you said) is an oversight but fine, that whole tirade should have been "You should also check out this other competitor, X" from Bob.

To lift your spirits, have a read of - its a list of quite famous and valuable companies that one of the largest VCs in the world declined to give investment - even people who's job is to invest in the next big thing think something is terrible and miss out - don't let how this person delivered feedback shape you.

sawrb 2

Not denying it was a dick move, but I’ve known some investors to turn hard core on you as their own fucked up way to evaluate how you deal with pressure and adversity. Or, the guy just enjoys the position he finds himself in.

justanotherstranger2 2

I don't have much more to add than what has already been said, but fuck Bob. You sound like you are on the right track by the fact that you're participating in practice pitches. Keep going and don't let the Bob's of the world deter you. Good luck

Lucifer666hellion 5

Don't forget to include him on any invitation s to the launch party, award ceremonies, or whatever it might be and thank him for the motivation.

FilibusterQueen 3

I’ve had something similar happen. Middle Aged Indian dude lost his shit at me for exactly the same reason. He then switched over from English to Hindi (I’m South Asian too) and said I should give up and find someone to get married to instead. :))))

People are jerks OP, don’t let assholes like him shake your confidence.

slimspida 3

You don’t owe this guy anything for not knowing a single company. He’s an asshole, plain and simple.

The mental exercise I’ve tried after bad meetings is trying to figure out how to get over the reactions and move on to the next meeting. You are likely to pitch investors many times, and you don’t want to give an asshole power over you in those. Try and compartmentalize the reaction and move on.

Most of your meetings at this stage will end with a no. I’m not saying that to discourage you, but so you remember that you most likely walk out of a meeting the same way you went in to it, and that’s not so bad. I’m fact, in that meeting you got more than that. You learned of an investor you never want to deal with again. That’s something.

stompinstinker 3

The truth is business can have some real fucked up people. There is a lot of psychopaths and zero empathy on the spectrum fuckers out there. They are hell to work with, so when they self identify like that it’s great because you can forget about them.

darksaber101 9

The guy sounds like a dick honestly.

thelunarlemur 4

Who cares? Fuck Bob

prostartme 5

In such situations, it is best to keep your calm. Some call this "Mind like water" technique. When you throw a pebble into a still pond, how does the water respond? The answer is, appropriately. Nothing more, nothing less. After that reaction, the water is calm again.

Edit: Anything that causes you to overreact (like he did) or underreact (like you did) can control you, and often does.

In this situation, you should have done the same. He threw a big rock into the water. You probably did not respond appropriately and hence you still haven't gotten your calm.

Realize that he is gone and you only need to take relevant bits out of his aggressive but solicited response. That is what it is worth. This could very well have been a real investor, but you don't care. You only need to find that one good investor. You cannot care less about the thousands of others who yelled at you or who you could not reach out to.

VirtualRealitySTL 5

Willing to PM me the AR company name? I have a pretty good pulse on the industry too, would be happy to weigh in if that matters to you.

Sounds like the guy was shit testing you and no one (including the other investors) checked him. You shouldn't have to check somebody in a pitch, but people can be assholes at any time

piratehat 3

Think about the kind of person it takes to scream at and belittle someone. Do you think he’s a happy person? Do you think he was trying to help you?

Just acknowledge that he was rude and unhelpful, then move on. Tomorrow focus on improving your pitch even more.

wau2k 4

I am a tech investor and former tech entrepreneur; the way Bob acted indicates to me (based on my experience in dealing with these types) is that he’s actually not a real investor.

gonzalotudela 5

It’s time you read Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff and learned about framing. That investor bulldozed you and there are ways to deal with that. One of them is, “Excuse me [insert name]. I would love to answer all of your questions in intimate detail, but right now is not the time. We have to respect the time of the 3 other people on this call. Once I’m done giving the high level overview, you and I can dive into some of the finer details one on one, of course if you’re actually interested in investing and don’t want to waste my time.”

I’m not saying this will work every time, but sometimes putting a bully in their place gives you the power again, while simultaneously earning the respect of other people on the call. Read the book, know what you’re dealing with and don’t be afraid to try some new tactics. It’s a tough journey raising capital, but you can do it!

prsh_al 9

Hey buddy,

Sorry to hear this. What I have learned from pitching to angel investors is that there are a group of people who don't actually invest (have the means to) but want to feel the importance of being an investor. This usually manifests itself in hostility as the person wants to show some kind of strange dominance. If a REAL investor believed that you didn't know your market as well as you should, they would politely listen to the pitch and then a week later when they reject, they will provide constructive feedback. This guy isn't a real investor and therefore his opinion doesn't matter, he cannot buy what you are selling.

I don't know the specific industry you are in but generally you should have a good read on the top 10-20 companies and direct competitors. If this obscure start-up doesn't compete, your answer was perfectly valid.

If I was in your shoes, I would have said "there are over X00 companies in the industry and I keep close to every competitor of note. My job is running a business and not having an encyclopedic knowledge of everyone in the world within a very larger space'. It is always good to reply to hostility with cool-headedness.

Honestly, I think this is quite funny and it reminds me of one meeting I had very early on, if you are interested, DM me and we can chat

jubun 6

My elementary teacher used to say "empty vessels make the most noise". That's what this is. Don't let a mean person eat you up.

Visox 28

Man ignore that guy, you should have walked away once he raised his voice. He is too full of himself, he would not consider you equal so don't bother

DoctorDumay 11

What a loser. Have some decency. It seems like he took his pathetic life out on you.

I think it is great you tried to do a practice pitch. He, clearly, hadn’t gotten the memo. And no, you do not have to know every little company out there.

If anything, it seemed he might be biased or have a conflict of interest. Make sure he doesn’t steal your idea!

elma3allem 17

Something similar happened to me two years ago when I was raising my preseed.

I was on my third round with the largest VC in my local area. It was a full partners pitch. Everyone was getting it except bob. It was obvious that he wanted to be an asshole. I thanked him for his feedback and calmly said I’d be happy to continue the discussion if this can progress from here, or end it right here if it doesn’t seem like a good fit. I appreciate it either way. Everyone stared at bob who didn’t know how to respond and calmly said keep going.

I didn’t get a term sheet from them but I did get two from competing funds.

The moral of my story is to always, always, always take control of your meeting, but calmly. Remember that you have the upper hand in those meetings. You can take money from anyone. They need YOU if you’re the next unicorn.

barclayk 5

That's great advice - "always, always always take control of your meeting, but calmly".

CentralHarlem 56

Investor here — sounds like you were dealing with somebody who has a personality disorder and you shouldn't take it hard. The only generous interpretation would be that they knew this was a training effort and perhaps they were trying to toughen you up.

When I train analysts, I always tell them that if they have decided a pitch is irredeemably bad, they should stop asking hard questions and politely wind it up. There's no point in making an entrepreneur feel bad, and if the business plan later improves, you want the option of still being able to invest.

Do you know this was a real investor by the way? The people I know who participate in training sessions like this have something they're trying to sell to the entrepreneurs. Real investors, in my circles anyway, don't have time for practice pitches.

david2500 3

Agreed, I don't know any investors that would start attacking someone out there personally due to not knowing a potential competitor. Could be a deal-breaker for sure and they'd wind up the conversation, but this sounds like a non-investor (another entrepreneur perhaps?) trying to show how tough/knowledgeable/alpha they are.
My #1 rule of investing is never get emotional (positive or negative, bad decisions come from it) and know many investors that value the same, so I'm very skeptical that this person was even a real investor.
Maybe I'm just used to UK investors (more polite, sorry US ones :-) ) though.

nimloth 5

>you know this was a real investor by the way?

Indeed. Good investors always leave the door open for the future.

jcspring2012 8

Yeah this whole situation sounds off.

bizzykehl 82

He was preparing you for the absolute worst case scenario during future pitches. You've now experienced it, so you've got nothing to fear next time :)

jjthebrazilian 1

I agree.

jailbreak 73

You think being yelled at by an idiot is the worst that can happen? Oh, my sweet summer child! The worst is that they show enthusiasm, follow up, albeit a bit slowly, keep asking for more and more info, ask weird questions that show they don't really understand what you're building, come up with low-ball term sheets with a bunch of hard-to-accept terms that take a bunch of effort and lawyer bills to iron out, demand exclusivity, keep dragging out the process, then 7-9 months down the line they either ghost you, or give verbal confirmation of the deal but then somehow fail for months to actually sign, then finally after months of prodding finally acknowledge that they don't intend to invest, after having wasted upward of a year of your time. At that point you'll dearly wish they had just yelled at you instead.

Gnarlixx 2

Wow. You nailed it. Well said.

somethingonnothing 2

As somebody with no experience in angel investing-- isn't this mitigated by having multiple potential investors lined up for better results?

That way you can put pressure on them like you would do by having multiple buyers interested in buying your real estate?

60days 1

Not really in most cases - interest comes with other interest attached ('I'm in if x is in'), and the percentage thats up for discussion is normally fixed.

Its hard to lose 5% stake in the company then make it up from other parties in a round thats 15% total; especially at angel-scale where that amount is meaningful to everyone involved.

That and the money isn't directly interchangeable like that. If you're picking your investors (and board seats!) wisely, you arent looking solely at the numbers before the zeros if the zeros are right.

ImPostingOnReddit 5

>That's a nice offer, but I have a better one from X

"Oh, then I wish you best of luck with X"

-- Me, in every situation where someone tries to play me off somebody else I don't know.

Hope that deal with X is on lock.

somethingonnothing 6

I was thinking more like "I have other proposals on the table, please don't drag your feet" and not like "mi cousin can do it twice as cheap, he knows computers".

If it was me, I'd let the supplier/investor know he's not the only snowflake in the field to put a little pressure. Then again, I don't have experience with investors.

ImPostingOnReddit 7

It's not a bad plan, if you're actually alright with the offer being dropped. Especially if the offer you're countering is one you wouldn't accept. Just don't try to lie about it (I know you never even suggested it, just getting the advice out there) -- investors talk to each other.

doctorpapusa 5

This what nightmares are made of

davidjytang 19


jailbreak 7

Just passing on war stories from friends. I'm happily bootstrapping, in part because of all the crap I've heard people need to go through to get funding.

AdamKyleWilson 71

The guy was an asshole. I’ve told plenty of would-be founders their idea has no merit or that they are under educated in their field, in a polite and courteous way. There’s no need for that. Sounds like a power tripping shit bag. Probably some middle manager at a hedge fund who bullies startups into small time seed investment deals and then calls himself a big shot. Pathetic.

WH25 4

There's a line between being challenging, which is genuinely useful, and being an asshole, which this is what this guy was.

Especially during a practice workshop, WTF

Americafakeful 7


jrz302 107

Sounds like the guy was being an asshole and you shouldn’t look too far into it. It happens. Hopefully it’ll prepare you better for the real deal.

anvildoc 131

He probably is an investor in company x and is trying to keep competition out

brbss 3

I'll add to this and say he's probably afraid of his investment flopping cause your solution is possibly better, then he really lost it when you didn't even hear of the other guys, further pointing at their imminent demise.

The way I've always understood it was, people are either gonna love or hate a successful product, but it will always evoke an emotion and more often than not be controversial. If nobody cares, that's when you should worry.

Good job OP, now keep going.


or he tried to do the same thing as OP and failed

Sliver_God 42

This was my very first thought

soulmagician 360

What you have to understand is, that not everyone is a creator. There are parasites who take pleasure in diminishing or extracting your value.

A lot of people like to position themselves as an 'authority' to have a sense of self-importance.

Take it with a grain of salt.

Maybe a few of his points had merit, you can be the judge of that. And the more time you spend on your products the better your self-awareness will be.

But beware, there are a lot of egos and 'bad actors' operating in the space who don't have good intentions for you or for the success of your business.

At best, they might want to devalue you, so they can steal your work or hire you for cheap. At worst, they want to destroy and prevent your operation, so they can ward off competition or maintain a monopoly in the marketplace.



GaryARefuge 1

Rule 8 - Find a more productive and constructive way to express your opinions

oldcrobuzon 15

Bob, is that you?

rock_lobsterz 1

Man that really got me lol. Had a real good chuckle from that. Cheers mate.

pwo_addict 18

Wow what an idiot

NWmba 46

New here eh? Let me show you around. People who want to start businesses can get money from investors to finance it in exchange for equity in the company. They call that an “investment” and it’s not a gift, more like a calculated bet that the person or team will build something profitable. A business is a way of making money by selling a product or a service you see. They need to pay to build the product or give the service, and so they need to get investors to pay the people. Any of this making sense to you or do I need to explain what money is?

hey_look_its_shiny 9

lmao. Probably my favorite comment I've ever read on this sub.

calizoomer 2

Idk there are dicks everywhere. OP should take the useful parts of the criticism and move on. No need to sweat aberrant behavior, there will be some fear tougher moments than some douche.

On the other side of the coin, I've met with some people who almost break down crying when I criticize the idea the there product is 'totally go viral on tiktok dude' and question what happens to the company if that doesn't work out. Investors shouldn't attack people but they should heap on just criticism. Take the legitimate concerns he raised like not knowing a competitor and move on.

If it was a company as big in the AR space as NReal OP probably should've known. But otherwise it's not an enormous concern.

Hardmeat_McLargehuge 6

OP (/u/dorkvader23) - then again, look at Bob's credentials. part of this is doing your own due dilligence on if this person is just a hack asshole, or if they actually know their shit and have countless experience in this field. It sounds like he's most likely an asshole, but try and take some grains of criticism to heart, because he may have given you some very good direction inadvertently and helped you shape your direction. Just make sure that you don't cast everything he says away. Often there are plenty of crabs in a barrel, but you likely know your product the best. These road blocks can either be warning signs to change trajectory or of some actual imminent danger ahead you may not have foreseen (i.e small company that already is doing what you're doing and is a few years ahead already). Good luck!

JessiSexy 6


Also see it as a chance to learn to evaluate different people and strengthen your mind. In business you will always encounter people that will be rough and even unreasonable. Best you learn early how to deal with them and not let your motivation get crushed by them.

D4G5D43 3

Yeah, I have a hard time maintaining my motivation after I deal with these people. Would love to learn more about it tho.

gran_neutrino 23

This. Very well said.

Big_Cup 16

👆 This

As a startup and venture capital attorney, I always warn my clients of the startup ecosystem predators. These people are hostile, toxic, and never give you valuable feedback.

Take his “critiques” with a grain of salt and forget about him. There is a difference between constructive criticism and being down right nasty. Sounds like he just wanted to stroke his ego.

willbebot 54

Not everybody is a creator, and that's why it's interesting to talk with a manager or a marketer to understand their point of view, but that's not the case here.

More accurate would have been: "...not everybody is a normal and civil person. There are parasites..."

On top of this I would add: remember that 1 in 100 of the people you meet is a psychopathic (in the medical sense). Learn to spot them, and avoid them.

doctorpapusa 43

I am a doctor, and in med school I was told a lot of shitty and bad things by Surgeons and other doctors.

Take criticism when is constructive. Don’t listen to people attacking you in that way. Just smile and say “thanks for your opinion, I may consider it going forward”, that makes them even madder, which shows they were only trying to make damage.