A tale of startups, VCs, their colliding intentions and a disillusioned Agile coach

Part 2 of 4—The ‘wait’

It was nearly two weeks later that I received the following email from Matt:

Dear Marc-Andre,

Thank you for meeting with us and presenting your company’s interests. We would like to invite you to continue our conversation.

Are you available in the week of [some date] for a quick chat?




Analyst for VC xxxxxx

I quickly replied with a proposed date, time, and location. In this instance, we were to meet at the co-working space. I received the meeting invite a few minutes later and promptly accepted. With my hopes up and filled with adrenaline I spent the rest of the day putting together a brief and powerful starter for our conversation that, I was convinced, would knock their socks off.

Here is the opening text I wrote to pique their interest:

“Software development is unpredictable, no matter how well you plan ahead of time.

Here are a couple of statistical facts that might interest VCs investing in IT startups, be it web, mobile, cloud, standalone, etc.”

I followed this through with some attention grasping facts filled with fear based statistics on failures in IT projects. The kind Agile coaches use in most conferences as a means to convince organizations that the only way to survive in this world is go through an Agile transformation. Here is what I put together:

  1. One in six IT projects have an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70% (source: Harvard Business Review).
  2. The United States economy loses $50-$150 billion per year due to failed IT projects (source: Gallup Business Review).
  3. 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail. (source: Geneca).
  4. Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year (source: Standish Group).
  5. 33% of projects fail because of a lack of involvement from senior management (source: University of Ottawa).
And the closing paragraphs to seal the deal:

“You might have heard about Agile. If you have, well this will still be of great interest as it offers a VC’s perspective on the use of Agile development.

Agile development proposes a set of values and principles used in various methodologies that are mainly used in IT development projects. These approaches are very popular at the moment for many reasons. But a much too often forgotten or ignored quality offered by Agile methodologies is ‘risk mitigation’ which is greatly beneficial to project stakeholders, like VCs.

Agile methodologies can actually help you determine on a regular basis if a project should be continued or terminated. What makes this approach unique is that the decision is based on functional delivered software, not statistics and data. Decisions are taken very early in the project to determine if the funding should be continued or stopped.”

I sent the text to Matt and Dave as a prelude to our conversation which was to be held at 3pm on the following Thursday. The week seemed to pass by more slowly than usual as I eagerly awaited Thursday. My expectations were high, enormous, gigantic! I was going to revolutionize the VC/Startup industry. I had plans of exporting this to the rest of South Eastern Asia, North America, heck why not the whole world!

Thursday, 2:45pm: meeting time! I sat in the café in the front section of the co-working space, ordered my usual long black and occupied myself with some basic JS (Javascript) while I waited for Matt, Dave and hopefully Paul to arrive.






By 4:15, it was pretty clear they were not going to show up. I sent them a small reminder email that indicated I was available for another meeting and proposed another date and time. I never received a response. I sent another email the following week with the intention of setting another meeting. No reply for the next two weeks.

At this point I started to question myself as to what may have scared them away. Was it the text, the meeting time and date, the context? I was in the dark and stayed so until a few months later.


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marc-andré langlais

Marc-André is an Agile coach at Epicoaching, member of Pyxis network. He helps build self-organizing teams who evolve in a stimulating and relational environment. Contact him to find out how he can contribute to the success of your teams.

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