I give you my money if you give me your creativity

I used to believe in the evaluators of R&D business projects, yes I myself am an evaluator of those startups, but I don't put money in them, I mean those who do put money in. I believed in them because I considered them better than me and I also thought that they put more effort than yours truly to scrutinize a business plan or an R&D project; the first premise, that they are better than me, has not yet fallen off, the second one has, I have seen how they fast track a project based on prejudices.

It is easier to think if the sector to which the initiative is directed is promising and above all, glamorous, than to go in depth to understand what these guys really want to do, that takes time and, above all, requires interest on the part of the evaluator, and it is a task that is not valued in the file. It is a fun job like no other, it allows you to learn, to see new ideas, new products and services, but it requires time and enthusiasm, not as much time and enthusiasm as those of the entrepreneur, but it does require that you are at their level, that you ask questions, and that you give them confidence in your confidentiality and inability to shoot them the idea; it is also necessary to know nothing about everything, come on. too much to cover too little.

It is complicated to be at the entrepreneur's level, to meet with him, and, from a framework of trust, to pull him by the tongue, to be prepared to understand what he says, to ask questions and to investigate afterwards. All this is neither in the manual nor is it reflected in the payroll; if instead of making the effort, you look at the company's head office and say, but they are in Carabanchel, and they want to compete with those in Silicon Valley, then you just get rid of them and that's it, and then it turns out that there are a lot of them. hailasIf instead of looking for a differential proprietary technology, you see three geeks who want to set up the umpteenth social network, you say, let Rita support them; if instead of seeing a sensational researcher who wants to revolutionize the treatment of cancer, you see an ugly dwarf with an old lumberjack shirt that is deformed by the coat he was wearing a while ago, you conclude that a venture capital manager will not want to waste his time with such an individual.

The next step, sometimes, is to let it slip that the technology is good, but if it were applied in another way it could be really productive, that it is a "peculiar and very scientific" equipment, or simply that you see them a little negative with the productive system. Of course, now comes the moment to ask the entrepreneur to change his idea and/or to change himself, you know, I give you my money if you give me your creativity. But how can you be so stupid, you do not realize that everything comes together in a package, that original ideas are difficult to be understood in the first instance, that if you kill creativity you kill innovation. The technological entrepreneur in the strict sense of the word is a rara avisIt is difficult for a scientist to be an entrepreneur, and vice versa, when both things are combined with an idea and a team, you see it shine from afar, it excites you, it thrills you, it impacts you.

Keep it or let it go to someone else, but be careful, because buying creativity with money will mean the death of both: of the startup and of your money.


11 responses to "I give you my money if you give me your creativity”

  1. Frankie Avatar


  2. Interesting article, and very true. The problem that assails me is when, as a "startupper" I find those "individuals" who do not know how to correctly identify what they have in front of them.

    By the way, do you see any similarity between them and "film critics", for example? ;D

  3. javier Avatar

    Skiter, that's a good comparison of movie critics, imagine that the critic in question has only seen the trailer of the movie, something like that is what I'm commenting on.

  4. I thought so 😀

    Great article. It's on the reference list for when I need to use it as an example/explanation. Thanks!

  5. There you have hit it Javier...

  6. The problem is the same as always, there are many intangibles that cannot be put on paper... not even in binary! The team, the personality... with investors it is the same, without a symbiosis between entrepreneur/commercial/technology/investor a neotech can survive but never succeed.

  7. The main problem is "wanting to be Americans" but "only partially"?

    a) In the USA some VC's may choose by 3 minute pitches, if they believe that overall they get it right more than they fail (due to their history of exits), knowing that those who do not pass their filter...will have other opportunities with other VC's with a more interactive approach. In Spain there are no VC's with a history of exits that can demonstrate that they have chosen well with 3 or 5 minute pitches/presentations.

    b) When many technology companies have as clients companies with long sales cycles such as telecom operators, banks, and going through n stages etc. .... does it make sense that the faculty to value is to make a 3 minute presentation? For this type of companies, wouldn't persistence be more valuable, or testing how the message/product is refined in several phases? Shouldn't part of the VC's job be to visualize the potential of the idea, product, technology or service .... and help to achieve maximum monetization by helping to redefine the aspects of the business plan that could be weaker?

    c) In the USA they start to show the anti-portfolio voluntarily, that the VCs list companies that have been successful and that they saw and discarded...

    Will this be seen in Spain?

    d) In the USA, VCs mainly invest in the USA (even if they are trying to look for opportunities abroad), they are still clear about the 1 hour drive to visit the investee companies (although it is not always possible, if it is the norm). In Spain, by default VCs tend to underestimate the potential of what arises here, and try to get into financing companies in the USA...not to be an hour's drive away but to fly in business to negotiate, go to the boards etc. ....
    Spanish capital going abroad...to finance companies...that if they had been able to, they would have preferred to be financed by the companies there (Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, Accel, BVP, etc).

    e) Time has brought in mature VC investment markets a symmetrical approach to the negotiation, capital demanders have a range of options that also forces VC's to demonstrate that they are a good opportunity for the entrepreneur for having been able to successfully sell companies and have taken others to the stock market (even more success). In Spain the VC doesn't have to prove anything, one should already feel lucky if he/she has been taken a little bit of notice 🙂

    f) Although in the USA proximity is a priority, especially in the Valley, pedigree is not required, nor a kind of glamorous aura..... Just look at the people who started in the garages, many of them first generation Americans, or newcomers. There is less prejudice and what is judged are the ideas, the passion, and what can be intuited from the ability to execute.

  8. Very good post Javier and very good commentary Juan. By the way I tell you a secret that comes to the case and is that at this rate I will be funded before the project that I raise in Silicon Valley that here ... 😛

  9. Thank you very much for your tweet-support, Javier. I guess you were referring to the Opinablogs thing 😉.

    You are right in everything you say in the post. And I congratulate you for it, it is a huge content.

    Honestly, I was surprised by the negative verdict of Invesnova for the project we presented. And even more so when they extended the deadline for submitting projects by 15 days (ergo, they did not have many projects in the pipeline).

    But, the truth is that I was quite surprised by the jury's negative decision. I don't care because I believe in the project, we have come a long way without anyone's help, involving great professionals who have not seen a penny, and who are contributing "in kind" great things to the project.

    For me invesnova has helped me to put many ideas in order, to force me to put in writing the mental plan for the development of the project, and to make great strides in organizational matters.
    For that alone, I'm happy.

    Regarding the project, I remain convinced that it will go ahead. We will soon be launching phase 2, and it follows the growth strategy that we had planned in June 2008.

    With or without funding, the project will move forward. With funding it would have moved faster... but in the end we will get to the same place. Because it is not a glamorous project, but it has great potential.

    Greetings! And thanks for your support!

    1. In any project jury there are people with prejudices, but they give the benefit of the doubt to the project, more than to the project to the technician who has read it; these people comment to the technician at the exit that the project seemed to them a nonsense, but in the evaluation they keep quiet, perhaps also for intellectual humility. Other people do not.
      Not attending a particular forum one year should not discourage you, there is a real roadshow of investment forums that any startup should cover, just as there is another route of awards to which you must present yourselves, you can not expect anything from them, but, like the lottery, if you do not play it you do not get it.

  10. I liked that "rara avis", recognizing the true value of an entrepreneur of that level.

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