VC Firm Subpoenas TheFunded For Negative Review

TheFunded, the site that lets startup founders leave anonymous reports on VCs they’ve encountered, has been issued a subpoena by a small Michigan based VC firm called EDF Ventures.

The firm is apparently going after an anonymous user who posted the following on TheFunded on October 12, 2007:

“Worked with these people on several deals and they are to be avoided unless you are desperate. Beaus Laskey, the only honest straightforward person in the bunch, has left the firm.'”

TheFunded’s founder Adeo Ressi responds:

The anonymity promised by Membership in TheFunded has been confirmed by leading programmers and by corporate counsel. Should EDF Ventures proceed with their request to subpoena records surrounding a post titled, ‘Avoid,’ TheFunded is certain that the anonymity of ‘John Doe’ will be now proven in a court of law.

When TheFunded was conceived, we understood that some investors might attempt to take legal action against the views of entrepreneurs. In order to prevent this form of censorship, TheFunded has been carefully designed and takes extensive measures to protect the anonymity all those who share their opinions on the fundraising experience. TheFunded does not store IP addresses, email addresses, or any other personal information associated with a Member account in any database or any file system operated by the company.

For every CEO that shares an experience, there are nine others who are hesitant. The worst stories of investor abuse remain untold, and TheFunded hopes that this test of Member anonymity will help open up floodgate.

The Founding Member, Adeo Ressi

There are a lot of VCs who hate TheFunded for exposing character flaws, and posting term sheets. Earlier this year someone launched a parody site called The UnFunded (since taken down) that allowed VC’s to rate the “clueless” founders who wandered into their offices. But taking legal action, especially against such a minor “offense”, is extreme.