Taking Money From VCs: Navigating the Founder’s Dilemma
Chris Corbishley is an Investor at Forward Partners, a leading early-stage VC fund providing startups with capital and operational support, with a special emphasis on the UK's next generation of AI, e-commerce and marketplace businesses.
Mr. Corbishley previously founded a machine learning platform, growthsquared.io, that helped e-commerce businesses apply advanced analytics to their data. Before that, as Head of Analytics at Swoon Editions, he championed the "zero stock, zero lead time” model in online retail.
Chris has a PhD in organisational economics from Imperial College London and has worked part-time on the London Stock Exchange ELITE programme - supporting UK scale-ups such as Skyscanner, graze.com, Vision Direct, and MedicAnimal - with the exciting nightmare of rapid growth.
Negotiations can be daunting. Whether you’re convincing a senior hire to join the team, deciding terms with suppliers or drafting customer sales agreements, they should always be characterised by cooperation, not conflict. When raising investment from VCs, entrepreneurs face an additional trade-off known as the ‘Founder’s Dilemma’. By understanding this better, it's possible to navigate the deal process more openly, and effectively.
- Get inside each other’s heads. Don’t assume anything. Ask questions and listen.
- When negotiating price, focus the discussion on value, not on valuation.
- When negotiating terms, understand the trade-offs inherent in the Founder's Dilemma.