Barnes was of the view that VCs should publicly be supportive of startups and the industry. The CB Insights readership, however, overwhelmingly disagreed as you can see in the survey results below.
There were also many interesting responses — a few of which are below.
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Reader feedback on VCs criticizing startups
Here are some of the responses we got back to the question of whether VCs should be able to criticize startups and the industry.
One fellow VC wrote:
“While I don’t think there is anything morally or ethically wrong with publicly criticizing startups, given the networked nature of the venture world, I wouldn’t do this out of my own self-interest. There is no point in creating ill-will within the ecosystem.”
“So now VC snowflakes need safe spaces?”
Girish Apte wrote:
“Any industry that relies on public opinion or public confidence for its growth will invariably develop an ‘us vs. them’ / ‘circle the wagons’ / ‘perception must be preserved’ attitude.
We see this happening in K-12 education, police, medicine, US foreign policy. In each of these areas, preserving the image seems to be the priority; the fear being that a reduction in public confidence might trigger a cascade collapse.
It is a labor union mentality, wherein protecting the interests of those in the industry overrides all else.”
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