If the worldwide business ecosystem was an ocean, then startups could be oysters. Oysters, that are trying to attract with their shell, while protecting the soft and vulnerable inside. If that was the case, then investors – venture capitalists, private equity companies, angels and such – would be pearl divers. Searching for the treasures of the ocean, natural pearls or perhaps some of them would be hunting for oysters with just a little grain of sand inside, to be farmed and grown to pearl oysters.
I’ve seen all kinds of ‘pearl divers’ in my 25+ years journey in ICT sales and management. Different kinds of people, cultures, styles and skills. Now take a moment to think about your own profile, what could it be like in the eyes of a startup representative?
Let me give you a couple of examples.
Some investors claim to have a hit rate close to 100, when they are in a hunt for new opportunities. They have a magical skill set, that helps them to see through obstacles. They use secret tools for comparing and measuring potential targets, allowing them to understand qualities, forecast future trends and calculate likelihoods with a speed of light. Even when they miss, it is done on purpose. At least they seem to believe so themselves. They could be called Prodigy investors.
Another group could be called the Pirates. They have special skills on holding breath, swimming fast and diving deep. If there is an oyster within the ocean, it will be found, opened, smelled and tasted. And finally thrown to fish. Or in one case out of 1000, put to pocket or eaten, without the shell of course.
We do have the pleasant investors too, the ones lying on the beach with a glass of soda, waiting for the oysters to crawl from the sea or being brought to their plate by someone. And, oh no, yet another oyster without a pearl!
And Last but not least – the largest group of investors represent the Professionals. As pearl divers they would swim like fish and examine hundreds of oysters every year. They take a peek inside every oyster gently. Based on facts about the oyster, it’s living conditions and diver’s intuition, she either sets the oyster back to its original position, or invites it to join her renowned farm.
Those Professional ‘pearl divers’ find themselves reading blogs at sites such as this one, when searching for tools and methods designed for VC’s and PE’s. They have an overwhelming understanding about industries and markets they are specialized to, and they own superior understanding on human behavior and growing businesses. And their portfolio is enviable.
Ability to manage a large amount of investment opportunities is a key success factor for Venture Capital and Private Equity companies. We all know that it is possible to manage a deal flow with high volume efficiently, while maintaining and building up great reputation within the startup community at the same time. It is about attitude and skills, but it is also about using the right tools too.