Cooperation in startup ecosystems

We were recently working on a fundraising round for one of our startups. We had commitments for the majority of the round and were looking for a small ticket to fill the remainder.

One evening, I received a text message from our founder who shared that he was talking with an investor for the final ticket, and that, if I knew the investor, he would appreciate it if I reached out to them and put in a good word for the startup. I did know the investor, but hadn’t thought of reaching out to them until now because they usually write larger tickets. Prompted by our founder, I reached out.┬áThe next day, the investor informed our founder that they would be glad to take the final ticket in the round, and the round was therefore complete.

I later discovered that the original connection between our founder and the investor taking the final ticket was made by another investor. And this is where things gets interesting. Although they liked the startup, the investor performing the introduction wasn’t able to invest in its last funding round because of their existing investment in an indirect competitor. But despite this, they made the introduction. They made a conscious decision to support a startup which they believe in even though they don’t have any financial upside in the company, rather than to protect their own investment from indirect competition.

This is just one example. But I believe that cooperative behavior occurs more frequently in the startup ecosystem than business at large. And this makes me grateful to be a part of this ecosystem.

Also published on Medium.