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5 signs a VC is just not that into you

August 1, 2012, 12:10 AM UTC
Fortune

By Elad Gil, contributor

So you’re an entrepreneur in the midst of raising your Series A round, and need to decide which potential investors to focus on. Many VC firms will take a long time to get to a “no” with you, but you can’t wait for them to weed themselves out.

It’s just like in dating, some people are obviously into you, some clearly not. But it is the ambiguous people who are the killer (and unfortunately, often the majority of VCs). Below are some signs a VC just isn’t that into you. If you see them, you may want to drop the VC from consideration and not waste precious cycles chasing them down:

1. Does not suggest next steps at the end of your meeting. A VC who is interested in your company will usually define specific next steps at the end of the meeting. For example: “Why don’t I get you together with 2-3 of my other partners later this week?” or “I will follow up with you quickly by Wednesday and we can discuss the data I need and next steps.”

An uninterested VC will not suggest anything tangible to happen but will talk more in vague generalities like “We should definitely keep in touch on this – I love you guys and your model.” This is a no, even though it sounds sort of like a yes.

2. Makes endless data requests, without any in-person follow up set up.

The most ambiguous situation is the data request without any further in-person meetings. In some cases, this is a legitimate request so the VC can quote data to get their partners interested in backing your company. Unfortunately, it’s also often be a way for a VC to learn of your experiences without any real investment interest. Beware of multiple data requests without any future meetings or clear next steps defined! If this happens, you should stop sending inside information to this troll and move on.

3. Only has you deal with a junior associate. Some firms use associates to screen their deals before a partner meets with your company. If you can get to a partner directly from day one, you should. If you are passed on to an associate and never hear from a partner after meeting with the associate, the VC just isn’t that into you.

4. Is not responsive to your emails. If a VC is into you she will prioritize your emails for reply. This means you should hear back on most emails within the same day. If it takes a VC more then a week to reply to most of your emails, she just isn’t that into you.

5. Does not try to sell you on her firm. If the VC does not spend the last 5 minutes trying to sell you on her firm, or offer introductions or help, she may not be that into you.

Elad Gil was co-founder and CEO of Mixer Labs, which was acquired by Twitter (where he currently serves as a strategy advisor).