Raising funding for a new venture is always difficult. Entrepreneurs going down this road will have to shrug off many pessimists and naysayers along the way…. but sometimes they are their own worst enemies.
As a venture capitalist you need to have a great sense of humour as you wade through your dealflow. We receive written requests for backing all the time, and we’ve kept some of the gems and put together a list of actual funding requests received by PoweredbyVC, a leading South African Venture Capital company, between July and December 2010.
Because of confidentiality, some info is masked and the entrepreneurs and concepts are not disclosed. Spelling mistakes and nonsensical sentences were left as is. We also offer a short VC Analysis at the end of each of these entertaining emails.
Please note that our analysis is not a reflection of the potential of the underpinning ideas, but rather about the ways that the concepts were presented to us.
Subject: Help!!!!! Very Urgent!!! LIFE OR DEATH!!!
Date: Aug 2010
It is a matter of critical urgency that you call me ASAP!!!!!
I have had multiple offers to buy my business, one such company is a major blue chip.
I refuse to sell but need capital to grow.
We have the complete comprehensive complete offer for commercial and inductrial consumers re energy savings in south africa.
DO NOT JUST LOOK AT THE WEBSITE!!!! It is CRITICALLY OUT OF DATE!!! It does not even come close to what we offer!!!
Call me on my cell, I swear to you this will be the most important meeting you have all year, I promise you. If it is not, feel free to have me physically and verbally evicted form the building.
Think about the statements I have made, I would certainly not create such expectation unless I was 100% sure I can deliver!!!
VC Analysis: Sell to the major Blue Chip before your concept becomes out of date. Think about the statement I have made…
Subject: WAKA WAKA – My Startup Needs Help
Date: July 2010
Shakira sang “It’s Time for Africa” and maybe you heard her, even if it was just subconsciously… (few like to admit they watch her with the Volume on).
My name is XXX. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life – opened a restaurant in XXX when I was 19 and opened a second one in XXX when i was 21. Then I fell in love with the Internet and have been living online since 2005. I met my girlfriend on a dating site 5 years ago. We have a kid together but she just dumped me… but that’s not my point.
I run a XXX business…
Best Regards and Waka Waka (whatever that means).
VC Analysis: It’s great that you got swept up by the FIFA World Cup spirit! And sorry to hear about your girlfriend. But that’s just too much information.
Subject: Idea Development
Date: July 2010
I have a few things in mind that need designing, manufacturing, but minimal R&D. Im not looking for direct funding, but a support path to reach the final products.
One of the things I want to develop, create has to do with faxing. The other has to do with car windows.
Please advise how I can further these ideas that never happend.
VC Analysis: Car windows and Faxing. We can definitely envisage a situation where one can be an expert in both of those unrelated niche areas. Why not combine the two?
Subject: Regarding one unique innovative product for which i need venture fund
Date: July 2010
This invention relates to provide convenience and removing headache of hanging mosquito net to have a bite-relief night from mosquitoes. XXX
Date: Sept 2010
I am trying here also to get some potential manufacturer of my product. For that I am sending the details about my product, I do not know is it right or wrong? kindly suggest me if I am wrong. I have the threat of being stolen my product.
VC Analysis: We kindly suggest that you are wrong.
Subject: awaiting your reply
Date: Oct 2010
In the past few months, my little baby dragon grew into this:
I don’t need a dragon slayer…..what I need is a dragon wrangler…….
If you and your group would like to explore this opportunity, I would be pleased to immediately respond to your potentionally non immediate reply.
VC Analysis: Our non immediate response would be to wait until the effects of what you have been smoking wears off, and then start with the basics by telling us about this dragon wrangling opportunity?!
Subject: Re: Fwd: Fwd: Re:
Date: Sept/Oct 2010
(after some back and forth on email)
I would like to make an appointment to see you. now that I feel comfortable that you are who you say you are.
VC Analysis: But how can we be sure that you are who you say you are?
Date: Oct 2010
MY NAME IS XXX FROM MPUMALANGA, HERE IN SOUTH AFRICA. I HAVE THIS IDEA OF STARTING A SOCIAL NETWORK SITE DIFFERENT FROM THE EXISTING ONES. I HAVE DONE ABIT OF RESEARCH. MY QUESTION IS, DO YOU INVEST OR FUND IN SMALL/STARTING BUSINESSES? IF YOU DO WHAT ARE THE PROCEDURES I MUST FOLLOW TO HAVE YOU GUYS AS INVESTORS?
VC Analysis: Are you shouting? Or is your Caps Lock button stuck? But your main problem lies in the “ABIT” of research that you have done. Do some more. Great idea though, we are all tired of Facebook and Twitter and itching to sign up to a different social network.
Subject: brilliant design
Date: Nov 2010
I have a new design that will be a billion dollar market. Every person on earth will have to buy one, because it will be the future of technology and everyday life! im just searching for a buyer who’s interested in making money, and will only give out new design if there has been a agreement.
Will be awaiting your reply
VC Analysis: Every person on earth? Awesome target market! Is there potential to expand this technology to apply to the future of everyday life of animals?
Subject: New Product Investment
Date: Nov 2010
To the Team
Attached I am forwarding The Product Financial Indicator for you to view and take into consideration.
Once you have confirmed… following next I will forward the set of documents to be reviewed that form part of the Trade Document Collection Content : Intellectual Property to which the value in economic performance is attributed!
THE GENERATION OF WEALTH AND SHARE
I am looking forward to meeting you.
From Mr. XXX
VC Analysis: We have read your funding request three times and concluded that we can’t believe that it’s November already. So tired.
Date: Nov 2010
VC Analysis: So you need R4.5m to get your project 100% off the ground in capturing an R80bn market with low cash flow being the only business weakness and no external threats? When can we start the Due Diligence?
Subject: Re: Start-up funding
Date: Dec 2010
Today i came up with an idea, that if i was offered a $1,000,000 winning lottery ticket / or this idea, i would take the idea.
I woke up with the basic idea, the core business idea/technology concept put together in less than 5 minutes.
The simplicit is laughable really (why arent people/companies doing this already?), the implementation of course is more complex, but that’s what the venture capital would be required for, making it work…
Many thanks, id appreciate any input from your side.
VC Analysis: Great opening line! But rather go for the $1,000,000; take some time off while thinking of another ‘simplicit’ idea which you can implement with some own funding behind it and in the process own 100% of your business.