This is a true story. I was there. The details are possibly not exact, and the quotes are paraphrased, but the essentials are true.  A startup founder was pitching to 22 local investors. The group had asked him to pitch because we liked his summary materials. He was local to us and had an interesting product. But he got screwed.

This is what happened

  • Two minutes into the pitch, he said he had been screwed by a partner in a previous venture.
  • Ten minutes into the pitch, he said that he had been screwed by attorneys in a previous business deal.
  • Fifteen minutes into the pitch, he said he’d been screwed by an employee he had to fire.

Normally, after every pitch, after the founder has left and we’re alone, the group takes time to discuss what we saw and heard. In this case, the room was quiet for a few seconds. Then one of us said:

“One thing we know for sure … if we invest in that guy, he’ll be blaming us for it later.”

Everybody laughed.

He didn’t get the investment from us. Do you know why not?

This is what reminded me

This morning I saw this question in Quora, the world’s best question and answer site.

Every time I’ve gone into business, I’ve gotten screwed badly, either by partners or by customers. How do I avoid this the next time around?”

I’m answering here first.

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