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How VCs become jerks
Federico Antoni
June 19, 2024

I finally got around to reading Omri Drory's piece, and it’s fantastic. NFX always brings valuable insights to the VC world, and I can confirm—they’re excellent investors. Omri’s main point is spot on: the daily grind of VC can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Fundraising VCs face constant rejection, ghosting, and endless comparisons to other VCs. It’s tough. (Yes, not as tough as being a founder, but still hard.) This grind can make even the best-intentioned VCs act like assholes. Here are a couple of thoughts on that.

First, VCs aren’t simply good or bad. Like everyone else, they operate on a continuum, having good and bad days, good and bad periods. Even great investors can sometimes ghost founders, give bad advice, apply unnecessary pressure, and take too long to decide. They just do it less often than what Omri calls jerk investors. Some VCs are awful most of the time, but many, like myself, strive to be better. It pains me when I realize I’ve been bad to my team. With age and self-awareness, I’ve learned to keep that side of me in check.

Second, being a jerk is often within a VC’s control. Some investors can hide their jerk side surprisingly well, acting based on the perceived power dynamics. The more powerful you seem, the more they’ll keep their bad side in check. Unfortunately, foreign teams, women, non-elite university grads, and non-native English speakers often get worse treatment. I’m fortunate to work alongside an incredible investor who’s rarely a jerk. It has helped me grow into the investor I want to be.

Jimena Pardo
was once a founder dealing with bad investors—often including me, when Hi Ventures was her lead VC. Thankfully, she’s forgiven me :) At the end of the day, we’re all works in progress, aren't we? So, if you encounter a VC being a jerk, cut them some slack—it might just be a bad week. But if it happens again, move on and call them out.

Life’s too short to partner with VCs who can’t control their inner jerk.

Follow Federico Antoni on X.

How VCs become jerks