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10 strange things about being a VC

May 31, 2011, 6:19 PM UTC
Fortune

Being a venture capitalist in unlike being any other type of businessman.

By Scott Maxwell, contributor

As an expansion-stage venture capitalist for 11 years, I still find it strange when I explain to people how a VC firm is different from a typical business. Here are some of the stranger differences:

1. Our target customer segment is very small

2. We want to meet all the potential customers in our target segment, but we need to turn away most of the potential customers

3. We only want a few new customers each year

4. We pay our customers a lot of money to start the relationship

5. We want our customers to grow their business much, much more than we want to grow ours

6. If our customers don’t grow their businesses, then we will go out of business

7. If we are lucky, our customers end the relationship and pay us a lot of money to end it

8. We need to constantly rebuild our customer base, since 100% of our customers leave us

9. We want our customers to be taken away by a large company

10. Even better, we want our customers to be taken away by a really large, swarming mob!

I am sure that there are a lot of other strange things about being a VC. What did I miss?

Scott Maxwell is a co-founding partner of OpenView Venture Partners.