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25 things investors say when rejecting your startup 投资者拒绝你的25种回应方式 May 29, 2012

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.

Brian Witlin

After speaking with a number of fellow “hustlers” (fellow fundraising CEOs), I was able to amass an awesome list of classic messages people have received from investors after initial contact or initial pitch. As the title implies, below are 25 ways people get rejected from investors.

Maybe I am a bit weird, but I tend to find rejection as a fuel to my fire. When I was in college, I got the Chicago Crain’s Magazine list of top 300 companies to work for. I hacked the list and mail-merged “personalized” letters and applied to over 290 internships. I received more than 250 rejection letters but got 3 offers. I plastered the rejection letters over my door and highlighted the part where they told me why I was not a fit. My favorite letter was from McDonald’s (corporate). It had a watermark of Ronald McDonald and friends. So now I can say that I was rejected from McDonald’s. Ha!

In grad school, I kept my two rejection letters from Stanford pinned above my desk (I got in on my third try). I found it both funny and motivating.

After going through two successful venture fund raises for ShopWell, I found it fun to create this top 25 list of rejection messages from investors that I, and others in my network, have received. I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

General Lack of Interest or Uncertainty

No response
We don’t see this as a fit at this time (the classic non-answer)
I was regrettably unable to get it over the finish line with my partners.
We are hesitant to invest as the lead, but keep us informed if you get a lead term sheet.
I’m unsure on this one. Let me set you up with one of our associates who has more expertise in this area.


I am currently overwhelmed at the moment, and can’t spend the time pursuing this any further.


We see this being competitive to one of our portfolio companies.
We have concerns that there are not strong competitive barriers to prevent others from doing what you are doing.

Market Thesis

We want to see how [insert portfolio company] plays out before we invest again in this space.
This space is too fragmented at this point for us to see a clear cut winner.
We don’t currently have a thesis on this space yet, and therefore are going to need to pass.

Firm Fit

We tend to invest locally, and you are located too far away.
You are slightly too early for our firm and we can’t see around the curve yet.
You are slightly too late for our firm at this time as we invest earlier stage.
We would invest if you had a local lead investor.
We don’t have more room in the current fund to invest.

Product Market Fit

I just don’t see people doing [insert primary action of your app] as a mainstream activity.
We would be more interested if you included [insert random feature/technology] in your product.

Distribution and Market Traction

We don’t see a clear path to cost effective user acquisition for your company.
We would like to see more months of [insert metric] before we feel comfortable moving forward.


We are unsure of your business model and will need to see more proof points before we feel comfortable.
Your market isn’t big enough.


We will feel more comfortable if you have added a/team of [insert hire(s)] to your team. There is too much team risk in this competitive environment.

Company Structure

We don’t like the cap structure of the company.


I left the firm and therefore cannot make investments on behalf of [insert firm] anymore but you should check out my new venture! It is so cool.


连续创业者,ShopWell创始人兼CEO Brian Witlin结合自己的经历及网友建议,总结出投资者在拒绝创业者的融资请求时常见的25种回应。同时他还按可能的原因将其分成几大类,创业者或许能因此从中获得更多信息。

■ 无回应
■ 我们认为现在时机还不成熟(经典的拒绝措词)
■ 很遗憾,这已经超出了我们的底线。
■ 我们正在犹豫要不要领投,有人领投时你可以随时通知我。
■ 在这一点上我不确定。你可以和我的另一个同事谈谈,他/她在这方面更专业。

■ 现在我有些吃不消了,无法花时间作进一步了解。

■ 这与我们已投资的公司存在竞争。
■ 你们在构筑强大的竞争壁垒方面做得还不够。

■ 目前我们对该市场领域仍持观望态度。
■ 市场很混乱,我们很难看清真正的赢家。
■ 我们对该市场还没有足够的认识,所以暂不考虑。

■ 我们倾向于投资本地企业,你们公司的位置离得太远。
■ 对我们来说,你们处于过于早期的阶段,还不能预期发展状况。
■ 你们现在所处阶段有些靠后,我们一般做更早期的投资。
■ 如果你们在本地找到领投者,我们将跟投。
■ 我们在当前领域的基金中没有更大的投资空间。

■ 你们应用中的主要功能似乎并不主流。
■ 如果你们在产品中加入xx功能可能我们会更感兴趣。

■ 我们没看出你们已找到获取用户的有效方式。
■ 我们希望每月能看到更多的XXX数/量。

■ 我们目前还没搞懂你们的商业模式,需要进一步证实。
■ 你们做的市场不够大。

■ 该领域有太多的团队风险, 如果你的团队有XXX可能会更让我们放心。

■ 我们不喜欢帽子状的公司结构。

■ 我已经离开xxx公司,不能再代表他们进行投资,但你应该看看我们的新公司…



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