Friday, March 8, 2013

Venture Capital: The Vocabulary

As my title and background indicate, I am currently a recovering lawyer.  After many years of education and a little over a year of practicing law, I decided to take a different route in life.  I quit private practice and joined a venture capital firm.  Needless to say, my world has been turned upside down (in a good way).  
I'm not there yet...but hopefully someday.

I plan to share many misadventures and maybe even a little advice for entrepreneurs as I develop and mature in my career.

One of the first major differences I noticed between law and finance is that the finance world has a vocabulary of its own that takes a little time to get used to.  Below are some examples and some translations.  After all, if you want to walk the walk, you gotta learn to talk the talk.

Finance Vocabulary 101:

1) Ding: the least severe form of telling someone they are wrong.
     -"Ding him on that valuation"

2) Rap on the knuckles: the second most severe form of telling someone they are wrong.
          -"I've told him twenty times not to do that, go, give him a rap on the knuckles and make sure he doesn't do it again."

3) Settle someone's hash: the most severe form of telling someone they are wrong.
          -"hold my drink, I need to go settle this guy's hash."

4) Shake some trees: to inquire further when being given the run around.
           -"its weird they haven't given you that, you better go down and shake some trees."

5) Circle back: to address something on a later date
           -"I'm gonna circle back with you on Monday for those financials"

6) Ring my bell: to remind someone of something later.
          -"ring my bell about this on Monday."

7) Haircut: a decrease in money.
           -"I took a haircut when I came here!" or "they are in danger of defaulting on their debt, we have to  take a 50% haircut in our portfolio."

8) Pushback: to argue with.
           -"Did you get any pushback on the valuation?"

9) Burn some calories: to do work.
           -"He's lazy, he's not gonna burn any calories on this."

10) Banker's Hours: to only work 9-5.
          -"Jeeze, its 4:55 and your packing up? What, are you on banker's hours?"

11) Cherry on Top: to take a small piece of a deal or finish out a financing round without leading such deal or financing round.
         -"Look, I'm capped at $500,000 and you're looking to raise $3.5m so I can't lead this deal, I'm just looking to be the cherry on top."

I'll try to keep updating this as time goes on.  But, entrepreneurs, if you are making a pitch to a VC and you hear a sentence that starts with "I'm gonna give you a little pushback..." be prepared to defend your position!


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