Fundraising 101: Do VC associates matter?

Building a company is fueled by highs and lows, but one of the few moments of potential ecstasy (or perhaps for grizzled veterans, deep annoyance) is the VC outreach email. You are building your startup on deforming IKEA desks eating frozen dinners when out of nowhere, a major VC firm reaches out and wants to discuss a potential investment.

But then you look up your interlocutor online and find that they have that completely enigmatic title of “Associate.” Heck, that email may well have been from me over the years.

What do you do? Do you connect with someone who may well be working at a prominent firm and try to engage? Do you flat out ignore it? Do you equivocate and delay?

In short, do VC associates matter to your fundraise?

First, what exactly are associates and what do they do?

The best way to understand the work of a venture firm is to look at their actual activities rather than the titles or listed duties of any individual person. On the investment side, there are three main activities: analytics, networking / deal sourcing, and closing.