Don’t Sugarcoat Failure for Investors 

I recently reviewed an early-stage founder’s fundraise deck. He’s raising capital for his start-up. His first start-up was shuttered when he couldn’t attract paying customers. He mentioned the first start-up to me but positioned the idea behind that business as a success because another company executed on it and is worth $10+ billion. Even though his business failed.

Most start-ups fail. Failed start-up attempts, while painful, can pique an investor’s interest. The failure itself isn’t what they focus on. What they want to know is what you learned from it and how you’ll apply that knowledge to the next attempt. If you learned valuable lessons that will increase your chances of success and speed of execution, that’s a positive founder trait to many investors.

Founders shouldn’t shy away from their failures. Instead, they should own them, share what lessons they learned from them, and articulate how those lessons increase their chances of success as a repeat founder.