Contacting VCs for my startup

I recently began work at a VC FoF that invests in a ton of VC funds, both highly prominent and small. In the months before beginning work (just graduated from undergrad) I started working on a startup. I am now almost done with the prototype, and just registered as a Delaware C Corp.

My question is, would I be setting myself to get fired were I to try and find some emails, either of relationships or non relationships with my firm, of VCs that I think might be interested in my product? If they are relationships, would it be better for me to hide the fact that I'm at the firm?

Basically, my biggest hope is to not get fired.


not sure what you are trying to do here... your own VC will have a conflict of interest here, and I am sure you signed something along the lines that your work time is fully dedicated to your own firm (of course, you are allowed to work on something else in your free time). Then there is the question why you are following this... is your own startup more interesting than working in VC?

harvesting VC contacts through your firm for your own company is a big no. Do you think they would invest?


Many VCs we invest in do Seed, and others are on the smaller side. I think my product provides something new and unique that would certainly gain interest. How would you personally recommend I get in touch with VCs?


To clarify, we're a FoF, so we invest in other VCs. We only do some direct investments in companies.


anonymize the deck and ask a few friends (=not people you work with in any way) for feedback. See if it could fly. If not, then no reason to make something big out  of this.

Find SMEs in that space and look at the existing research, projections, ..

Most Helpful

You need to be careful about this. If you're actively working on another corporation while you're employed full-time, there could be big ramifications. First off, you might be violating your employment agreement as many of those typically state you can't work on anything else without approval. Second, anything you create/produce may be owned by your current employer. Did you sign an employee license agreement / something that automatically assigns any IP you create while employed to your firm? At a minimum, you can't use company resources or company time (e.g. M-F 9am-5pm) for outside work, otherwise they could automatically own it. If you're serious about this startup, you should quit your job to dive in full-time, or at a minimum check with an employment lawyer on how to go about it cleanly.


This is great advice, thank you so much. 

Though in my situation, I did already speak with compliance and my manager, and got it confirmed and approved that I could own equity in this startup and work on it outside of work hours on my own time, so I don't think it'd be a problem. I only have the problem of how to approach VCs, and if any particular VCs are "off limits." Obviously, it's tough because as a FoF, we already cover so much of the industry. So it's as if no matter who I talk to, there's potential that there's some sort of connection to my firm...


Since you’re working in VC FoF right now I would lean into your actual job for a few years and build your network of relevant GPs. There will be a point when you know these VC funds pretty well and whether your startup would fit their mandate. When you do pivot back to your startup you’ll raise the seed a lot easier by leveraging actual connections and not your fund’s Rolodex.

Obviously just do your startup right now if the idea can’t wait, you have conviction, and you are prepared to execute. I do understand not wanting to quit your job without a MVP and many people do work on side hustles on the weekends, but you need to be careful about outside business activities.


Hey, these are all great points. I definitely am a bit eager to get working on my startup though, and as I said in my reply to @VC_associate_13 , I am "allowed" to do so. Perhaps it would be advantageous for me to leverage future connections, but I think that it'd otherwise be optimal to start now due to competition that could be arising in the field. It'll probably be tougher, but I'm hoping that our product itself could attract some attention.

How would you recommend getting some traction for this without any existing connections? Are incubators the way to go?

I also have a few other questions, would it be possible to DM you?


My 2 cents from within the sector and seeing it first hand. 

You will face a legal battle in the mid-future. You will lose it. 


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