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Summertime Blues?

A lot of entrepreneurs think that venture capitalists take the summer off.  That's not exactly true.  But, there is no question that things slow down.  With summer starting yesterday, I thought I would explain some of these dynamics.

First of all, VCs do tend to take some amount of vacation during the summer.  Those of us with kids tend to take big trips with our families, sometimes to exotic places.  And, to maintain sanity, you need to unplug, at least somewhat, when you take time off.  So, communication with entrepreneurs that you are working with can get interrupted (but excitement about a deal tends to override the need to unplug!).

But, it's rare to take more than 2-3 weeks off.  So, where does the impression that VCs take the whole summer off come from?  One thing to remember is that VCs work as individuals most of the time, but investment decisions are made by the team.  Depending on the partnership, there may need to be a complete consensus on a new investment.  Or, perhaps one or two key partners have to see a deal before it can go forward.  In a bigger partnership, there may never be a time during the whole summer when all the key players are available at once for a final presentation or a full discussion.

So, the individual VC partner is working, but the partnership may be very slow, or stalled, during the summer until all the key players are back at work.  A smaller firm will have much less of a problem here.  Although at a small firm an investment decision is likely to require unanimous approval, there are likely to be many more weeks when all the partners are in the office simultaneously.

If your company's progress or financial situation dictates that you are going to try to raise money during the summer, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to deal with these timing issues.  Ask the Partner that you are working with exactly what the summer schedule is likely to be.  Make sure you understand who will have to see your deal in person during the diligence process and get these meetings scheduled in advance and around people's vacations.  And, there is nothing like competition with another firm to get someone to move faster and bend the rules.

The Who plays Summertime Blues


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