VC Cliche of the Week

I may change the title of this running series to VC Phrase of the Week since not all of them are cliches in the classic sense.  And this week’s is certainly not a cliche, but its something I heard a number of years ago and have found myself saying a lot over the years since then.

The origin of this saying isn’t clear, but was attributed to Bill Kaiser of Greylock when I heard it first.

It’s about a VC’s "radar" and it goes like this:

When I first hear of a company I ignore it, when I hear about them a second time I write the name down, when I hear about them a third time, I get them in for a meeting.

I am sure I’ve bastardized this quote and I honestly don’t know if it originated with Bill, but it does describe one important way we track companies.  VCs all have areas they focus on, in our case its applied technology services.  We all have ways we get a flow of information about new companies, technologies, and people working in our target sectors. And we need a way to determine what is "noise" and what is "signal".

There are a host of techniques we use.  Our network of trusted relationships is the single best filter we have.

But when we hear about a new company from three different trusted sources, in particular if it happens within a short period of time, its bound to get our attention.

So if you want to get on a VC’s radar screen, figure out how to get people, particularly people that are trusted in VC networks, talking about you and your company.