How (Not) To Raise Venture Capital

Lots of startups get turned down for VC funding, but a Web 2.0 wannabe called RateBuilding has reset the bar by getting denied more than 100 times in less than an hour.

The debacle began yesterday at around 2pm, when RateBuilding sent out an elevator pitch to a wide swath of venture capital and private equity investors. Its opening salutation was just a generic “good morning,” which was followed by four paragraphs explaining how the company’s ad-supported website would allow tenants to rate their landlords. A plausible idea in theory — particularly because it can apparently translate ratings into different languages – but also not one that would set most VC hearts aflutter.

So VCs began replying with their versions of “no thanks.” The problem is that the replies went not only to RateBuilding, but also to every other recipient of the original email. This meant a sudden flood, including steamed VCs being asked to be taken off the list – even though each of those requests went to all of their peers.

Among those firms to receive, and reply to, the blast were: Mayfield, Novak Biddle, OpenView, O’Connor Capital, MCM Capital, Lubert Adler, Megunticook, HLM Venture Partners, MCG Capital, LCP Partners, Madrona, Mesirow Financial, KRG Capital, Morgenthaler, Ironwood Capital, Pinnacle Ventures, GTCR, Parthenon Capital, Kelso & Co., Legg Mason Real Estate Advisors, Opus Capital, ICV Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Lehman Brothers, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Paul Capital, Kidd & Co., Insight Partners and Next Stage Capital.

Even if a VC did want to invest, they had better speak French. The phone number left on the email goes to a French-speaking voicemail without an English translation.


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