Hey, Kids, Keep Your Parents Away From the Pitch Meeting

If you’re a teenager, and you’re pitching a VC about your startup idea, John Malloy has some advice.

“Don’t bring your parents to the meeting,” says Malloy, general partner of BlueRun Ventures.

Malloy was speaking on stage last month at the Geo-Loco conference in San Francisco when he mentioned the teenager no-no in response to a question about what’s the worst pitch he’s ever received.

In a follow-up discussion, Malloy, who’s a mentor of the Teens in Tech incubator program, says that he has lately received more pitches from teens and young college kids, many of whom are based at the many incubators that have cropped up in recent years.

But, in fact, having a teenager entrepreneur bring in a parent is not really any trend he’s seen occurring frequently.

“It’s happened, but not a lot,” he says. “Most often it’s when a family member is involved in the business.”

Or perhaps the parent drove the teen to the pitch meeting?

Daniel Brusilovsky, founder and CEO of Teens in Tech, says that he’s only heard of one or two instances when a parent accompanied a young entrepreneur to a pitch meeting.

“But, often times, a parent has to do the driving, or maybe the young entrepreneur isn’t old enough to sign for the deal or isn’t legally old enough to take on the risk,” Brusilovsky says.

Brusilovsky admits that the number of teen entrepreneurs is growing, anecdotally, but he doesn’t have hard numbers of how many. Likely, as the universe of young entrepreneurs grows, more of them will want to bring their parents along to pitches and to help support the business.

“Most teen entrepreneurs are focused on school in addition to whatever tech startup idea they have,” he says. “So parents are critical, if and when the times comes.”

Tech Entrepreneur Spits Rhymes to VCs

This magazine you’re reading might be remembered as the Ashton Kutcher issue, thanks to our cover story on celebrity investors.

So we couldn’t help but notice, as VCJ went to press in late November, that the ubiquitous Kutcher was making news, not for his love life or his acting, but for being a tech investor. Or at least a tech investor who was getting pitched.

The San Francisco-based startup Undrip, which promises on its website that it is “Rethinking Social Consumption,” created 20 rap videos aimed at various VCs in an attempt to raise funding. The videos target, among others, Kutcher, Chris Sacca, Reid Hoffman, Naval Ravikant, Shervin Pishevar, Andreessen Horowitz and Ben Horowitz (the A16Z duo are serenaded in one video). The company, via its Twitter account at @undrip, followed up with a few investors.

One tweet on Nov. 17 read: “Dear Santa, I only have one wish this Christmas. I wanna know what @sacca thought of his rap video.”

The tweet also included a link to the Undrip rap video on the company’s website. Thankfully, lyrics are included. Here’s a sample:

Lemme kick a little something to my Chris Sacca y’allRockstar runnin’ it with Lowercase CapitalTop dog of angels and a Truckee residentPeep the mans influence, Chillin with the presidentThis guy is Superman. Catch him on Uber, man

Spinnin’ investments like Turntable.FM

We didn’t see any reply tweet from Sacca.

Also, no word yet on whether Kutcher and others were game to invest, or even if they watched the low-budget videos. On the company’s home page of http://undrip.com, click on the Rap button to see the full list of recordings.

Undrip founder Mick Hagen says he’s gotten interest from VCs, but not necessarily from any financier featured in the raps.

SRI Celebrates 65 Years

Last month, SRI International celebrated 65 years of helping to create innovations.

Since 1946, the organization, formerly known as Stanford Research Institute, served as the place where such tech devices originated as the mouse and, more recently, the Siri virtual personal assistant that it’s in the iPhone 4S.

Norman Winarsky, who leads SRI as vice president, tells VCJ, that the organization has helped to create 50 companies over the years, including four that have gone public. He estimates that about three or four new ventures a year come out of SRI and some receive VC backing. Morgenthaler Ventures is often involved, although SRI works with a number of VC firms.

Siri, which Apple bought, is getting a lot of the attention lately, but Winarsky says he doesn’t have a favorite, because they all have been great to see develop.

“I have the best job in the world,” he says. “I get to look for disruptive tech solutions in the market and bring those opportunities to bear.”