Mike Hirshland at Polaris on why “no” remains the hardest word for VCs:
I did not have any really good reason [for saying no] other than the fact that his particular venture had not risen to the top of my stack. While I think it remains very interesting, compared to the other opportunities we are seeing I couldn’t realistically see a scenario where we prioritized this particular venture as one that we were likely to actually move forward to fund. So, although I think both myself and the entrepreneur were at one level very interesting in continuing to “work” the deal, it really didn’t make sense for either of us to continue our discussions.
While this might seem elliptical, it is a actually a usefully honest answer from Mike. All too often the real reason why investors don’t fund your deal isn’t something innate, it’s because something else — often in a totally different area — is mildly more interesting to them. To paraphrase George on Seinfeld, “It’s not you. It’s me”. Being honest about that isn’t such a bad thing.