As #BetaKit1on1 returns for the new year, we thought it best to kick off the latest run with a bang. VC’s are known for being direct in their feedback, and 500 Canada’s Sanjay Singhal is no exception.
“Don’t cold call me. Ever. I will blacklist you, and tell all the other VCs not to ever talk to you.”
In the video below, 500 Startups’ Venture Partner for Canada does not mince words about the need for young founders to quickly learn the ropes when raising capital. “If you’re a young entrepreneur, for god’s sake, please talk to somebody who knows what they’re doing before you start raising money,” Singhal says. “We see so many dumbass mistakes.”
While some snafus can get relationships with potential investors off on the wrong foot, Singhal says others might end them completely – like cold calling a VCs personal cell phone instead of going through proper channels. “Don’t cold call me. Ever. I will blacklist you, and tell all the other VCs not to ever talk to you.”
If Singhal’s critical eye is sharply pointed, it’s also hard-earned, having founded Audiobooks.com as well as a few failed startups of his own. The entrepreneur-turned-VC is just as blunt about his own past mistakes.
“One day, my student guidance advisor said, ‘I’ll give you a cheque for $10,000.’ Like, this is all your money! You can’t invest this in me, that’s risky,” Singhal says. “And she said, ‘no no, I believe in you.’ That company went bankrupt six months later.”