Establish a relationship before you ask people favors, is what I told a European investment group today who deployed loan-shark tactics to a European startup, asking me for help — with 51% investor ownership in the first round, taking advantage of risk scarcity amongst investors in Europe.
All while having the budding company in question make the expensive trek into the U.S., and now finding little appetite for a cap-table that yields an investor-run business. No thanks, I told them.
Running a business requires authentic vision and relationships based on authentic respect between entrepreneur and investor. Entrepreneurs must, during the initial stages, remain in control of the upside of the business, and innovation better not become a proverbial slave-trade.
Squeezing unknowing entrepreneurs for all they have does not garner my respect, nor my support.
So, entrepreneurs, talk to me before you get seduced by investors who close rather than open doors for you.