Cut that Middleman Out!

I am fast becoming allergic to middlemen who are hired to fund-raise on behalf of startups. No offense to freelancing consultants – I’m sure you guys do good work and earn a decent living. It just doesn’t help that one of your kind is putting my team mate through a ton of grief in his recent deal.

I had to deal with one once, and while the experience wasn’t all that bad, I often wondered how much of what I said got filtered and how much of it actually reached the entrepreneur himself. In the end, we walked away from the deal, citing the typical “it’s-too-early-for-us” spiel.

I profess I don’t have a whole lot of experience in venture capital. The following piece of advice is probably only good for n00bs slightly greener than I am. Having said that, if I were investing good money into a startup, I think I would like to deal with the men themselves, direct. Nothing like hearing it from the founding team themselves, and soaking in their passion and belief in their great idea. To all you first-time entrepreneurs and wannabes out there, go ahead and hire a middleman if you must – just make sure they’re playing the supporting role, providing you with the right contacts and sound advice.

Never allow them into the thick of (negotiation) things – word spreads fast, and you most certainly don’t want to piss off your prospective investors, or you’ll soon find many other investors’ doors shut tight.

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.