Open-Sourcing Venture Capital, On Quora

I’d like to invite others to try a new experiment with me — open-sourcing venture capital, on Quora. The idea is simple. I’ve received lots of feedback that people want more insight into how venture capital works. Let me state up front that I am only learning, and maybe I’ve had more access than others, but I’m completely green here. I have never made an investment (outside of my time, blood, sweat, and tears). That said, I have helped many founders (including myself once) manage seed and Series A financings, and (try to) work hard to scout companies and people well-advance of any financings to better learn the process. I guess now I’ve also sat through enough pitches, evaluation meetings, and due diligence cycles to see some patterns.

So, here’s the twist. There’s enough content and information written by VCs littered all over Twitter, mostly regurgitating the same stuff, because blogging done well helps them market and get deal flow. Every now and then, you get a great post, but there are so many things going on behind the scenes that never make it to Twitter or the blogs, why a valuation may look a certain way, how a firm might take a portfolio approach in a category but never say it, or what a specific investment strategy may look like based on what the firm has historically done. And, so many more.

It’s with that spirit that I’d like to invite you and others (whomever!) to ask me questions, and on the chance I have a perspective, I will try to answer them. Please realize I can’t offer the best perspective, but this is also a means for me to learn more about what others are curious about and, on occasion, to express a point of view that, for better or worse, may be closer to right or closer to wrong. For this, I want to use Quora exclusively as a means to collect better questions and keep the answers open for anyone to view. Here are the steps, pretty simple:

  1. Either find an existing question and/or create a new question on Quora:
  2. Ask me to answer it through their tool.
  3. Send me an email as well with the link: semilshah at gmail
  4. I will do my best to answer any reasonable question directed at me within one week, and if I can’t answer it, I will find someone who can.

Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2016 Semil Shah.

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”— Epicurus