A nice coherent article, Aaron, and I speak as someone who's raised nearly $100m over the course of a long career, both for my own companies and for those of friends. But the real way to raise money is simply to copy-cat whatever happens to be fixation du jour among the VC community. VCs these days are usually kids who started out of MBA school as Associates. They've never run anything in their lives. So they watch to see what other VCs are doing (classic herd mentality) and as soon as something becomes a "killer hot trend" they rush to invest in the same space because they all suffer from Fear Of Missing Out. It doesn't matter if the super hot killer new trend is risible and insane; all that matters is enough other "smart & stable" VCs are pouring money into this space for a while. Of course your company will almost certainly crash & burn because the space made no sense in the first place, but if raising money is your primary goal then this is the easiest way to do it. Conversely if you want to build a real, solid, profitable company, VCs may be too busy investing in financial black holes to pay you any attention, no matter how sensible your financials may be. Indeed, the more sensible your financials the less attractive your company is likely to be during a "gold rush" phase when all frontal cortex neurons of VCs everywhere are firmly switched to the OFF position.

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