Live from the Cleantech Forum, the largest investor conference for energy and environmental technologies, our take on how to tell if the venture capital investor you are talking to really may be your friend. Only partly tongue in cheek.
1) when you ask how things are going, he moans about all of his portfolio companies who are suffering; and doesn’t tell how all of them are getting traction.
2) when you ask whether they’re actually investing this year, he tells you no, their fund is full but he refers you to an investor who has just raised a fund (and doesn’t tell you, “oh yes; we’ve still got one or two deals left to do and we’re exploring raising our next fund” – VC code for I’m out of money.
3) when you ask for advice, he actually tells you the terms of the last couple of deals they’ve done.
4) in your due diligence, he shows you the business plan of one of his portfolio companies who competes with you – instead of handing yours to them.
5) he starts offering to meet at YOUR office and then picks up the tab for lunch.
6) he gets your kid an internship at one of his companies.
And, the final way you know the VC you are talking to may really be your friend:
7) he hands you his resume.