[Updated: It turns out TheUnFunded is even more exciting than we thought. Read the end of the article to find out more.]Venture capitalists fuming about getting badmouthed at TheFunded.com have a new online home, a place by VCs for VCs to turn the tables on entrepreneurs. The site’s name is both obvious and perfect — TheUnFunded.com.
TheFunded is a site where entrepreneurs can post their reviews of different VCs — and perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s turned into a forum for some serious venting.
TheUnFunded’s founding VC (who’s keeping his or her identity secret, just like TheFunded’s founder did for many months ) admits to feeling jealous of TheFunded’s “community and camaraderie”; he or she is also understandably unhappy with reviews declaring other VCs “nutcases”, “stupid” and “rude and arrogant.”
TheUnFunded’s membership is limited to those who work at a venture firm, so I wasn’t able to see much myself. The format seems to be what you’d expect: Members can post ratings and reviews for different startups. Initially, at least, TheUnFunded will probably be dominated by complaints and whining — of the four reviews visible on the front page, no company gets a rating higher than 2 out of 5, and comments describe founders who “wore sandals to the meeting”, appeared to be “clueless” and “hit on my receptionist.” (Note: I’m not saying that the complaints are unjustified or unamusing, I’m just saying that’s the content you’ll find.)
TheFunded has run into some problems with its similar model, which we outlined here. Basically, a number of venture firms pressured entrepreneurs — in some cases by threatening legal action — to take their bad reviews down. (At the time, we there was an argument to be made on both sides of the debate.) Could TheUnFunded’s reviewers run into trouble with litigious entrepreneurs? Possibly, although it will probably be a much smaller issue, given the imbalance of money and power between VCs and most startups.
Anyway, a site like TheUnFunded was probably inevitable, and let’s be honest — we at VentureBeat want to know what people are posting. But here’s a bit of unsolicited advice for anyone who wants to join: Look, you’ve probably got a lot of valid complaints, and you deserve to have a safe place to air them. But 99 percent of the time, the Internet really isn’t that place. Trust me on this one — email firstname.lastname@example.org instead.
[Disclosure: TheFunded and VentureBeat have a business relationship. Also, it turns out this is a giant April Fool's joke. Nice one, TechCrunch. For the record, we weren't fooled at all. At all.]