VCs often get grief from founders for asking “How can I help?”
Often, this grief is deserved.
One of the best signs of founder/VC fit is that a VC can actually help – whether it’s strategic partner intros, key hires, strategy guidance, fundraising help, etc.
Yet quite often that “How can I help?” question rings empty. At times, founders are rightly calling bullshit.
While I can’t help every founder I meet, I try to get one thing right when I ask this question – my sincerity. I ask it from a place of genuinely wanting to help.
It requires a commitment to take extra time and effort to help – even in cases where an investment might not be a good fit, which is much of the time.
Sure, it’s good for your reputation. Sure, it leaves a good impression.
But from my perspective, it’s rejuvenating to ask it sincerely. Founders are in the real trenches, doing the yeoman’s work of transforming industries, usually against massive odds.
It’s my offering to them, and it’s one of the things that brings me great joy in this work.
Founders – make sure you get a sense of genuine sincerity when you hear a VC ask this question, or find other investors to work with.