How do venture capitalists evaluate startups?
Let me give a higher-level learning.
Ultimately, most (not all, but most) VCs have to invest in the Best Companies They Can.
Because there’s a clock.
Most VC funds want to finish their primary investments, their first checks into new companies — within about 36 months, sometimes less. (Those funds will keep writing checks into existing investments for another 7-10 years after that).
Back into that, most VC partners need to do from 1-3 investments a year, with perhaps an average of 2 per year.
That means … at the end of the day … each year, they have to invest in the Best One or Two Companies that (x) they meet (y) that fits their stage / model, AND (z) that will take their money.
The better the deal flow, the better the companies you see that will take your money — the reality is, the evaluation changes. Even if the criteria are seemingly similar. If you got to meet Uber, Zenefits, AirBnb, Stripe, etc. and pick from them — that’s one thing. Most VCs don’t.
Most VCs only see a handful of truly great start-ups a year. And most VCs can’t get into the best deals / win deals.