Choosing to ignore the venture adventure
A New York Times article
about startups rejecting venture capital investment got a lot of shares over the weekend (in fact, it was in our Saturday edition!) but what amused me about it was how it seemed more in tune with the media perception of the tech industry than the real thing.
According to the prevalent tech media narrative, entrepreneurs all chase VC cash so they can scale as rapidly as possible. And they all want enormous exits, having grown their businesses as large as possible.
That’s a useful narrative if you’re a VC but not the truth beyond a certain slice of the industry. That slice may be prevalent in places like Silicon Valley but to ignore the wider tech sector beyond those small geographic areas is to misrepresent tech entirely.
I live in Manchester in the North of England. Manchester was ignored by many VCs for years - and that helped foment a certain negative attitude towards venture capitalists. It didn’t help that some of the VCs that were active in the area were overly greedy and unsupportive of the companies they backed. Entrepreneurs were forced to bootstrap their businesses with their own cash instead.
Now VCs pay more attention to the region, but it feels like there’s a healthier mix of venture-backed and bootstrapped businesses here than there may have been otherwise. It feels like we largely skipped VC mania.
So it’s funny to see rejection of venture capital presented as a novelty. The beauty of business is you can go as big or small as you like. VC is a tool to help you go stratospheric, but not everyone wants to do that.
And if anyone looks down their nose at your for running a ‘lifestyle business,’ it’s probably them who has the problem, not you.