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Adeo Ressi of The Funded.com on anonymity and truly negative VC experiences

Entrepreneur interview by John Shinal
February 25, 2008 | last edited July 10, 2008 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/159

Fast initial uptake of an idea is a sign that its time has come.

For decades, startup CEOs seeking venture capital funding faced a very asymmetrical relationship when they sat across the table from the partners of venture firms. The firm had the cash, while the entrepreneur was competing with thousands of others seeking the same dollars.

But the balance of power in that relationship is slowly changing, thanks in part to a proliferation of VC firms and angel investors, and to TheFunded.com, the Web site that allows startup CEOs to anonymously share their VC experiences.

Adeo Ressi, founder and CEO of TheFunded.com, says in this Vator.tv interview with Bambi Francisco that when he opened up the site in March 2007 to any CEO, the number of VC ratings exploded overnight.

The site, which has 6,000 members today, had 1,000 people sign up in the first 24 hours after media coverage of the site's open enrollment.

TheFunded allows members to post ratings anonymously, which could allow someone with a personal vendetta -- or a VC firm trying to protect its reputation -- to post snarky comments, lies or worse.

When asked about the anonymity issue by Francisco, Ressi replied that more than 95% of the members on the site are CEOs, whom he says are way too busy to spend time on revenge.

"We vet the incoming audience to ensure that they are who they say they are," says Rossi. "A lot of the negative reviews are spawned by a truly negative experience rather than vengeance."

He says it's not the middle of the road experiences, but rather "the really good or really bad ones that motivate CEOs to write... they realize that if they band together, a lot of the problems they faced will be alleviated in the future."

To the question of whether some VC firms are manipulating their rankings, Ressi was blunt.

"Definitely... but I don't blame them, I would probably try to manipulate my rating on a ratings site...everyone tries to do that."

However, those reviews tend to obvious because of the superlatives and exclamation points used, and the site has now instituted an algorithm to find them and now flag firms that do it, according to Ressi.

TheFunded.com gets roughly 20 reviews a day, and more than 70% of its content is for members only, Ressi says.

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