TheFunded released some documents today that were subpoenaed in a case brought by EDF Ventures last week. I’m amazed by this whole thing. The VC firm is suing because someone anonymously said they have, "very harsh deal terms…"? Come on. How has this not been thrown out as a frivolous suit? And why hasn’t Adeo counter-sued?
I confess to being an avid TheFunded reader and contributor. Like any group, there are a few crackpots in the lot (heck, I could be one) but there are also some folks who are doing amazing things. As a member I’ve found that the perception of the site is a place to bash VCs and while that does happen occasionally, the reality has moved on a lot. For example, here are a sampling of recent questions/posts:
- Negotiating Power And Syndicate Status
- Best For Negotiating Terms: In Person, Phone Or Email?
- Recommendations For PR Firm?
- Equity Ownership For Series A Biotech Start Up
In fact, most posts are not about individual VCs and those that are are neutral or positive.
One funny bit in the EDF law suit story is the insinuation that the poster wasn’t an entrepreneur who pitched the fund and got shot down, but rather some disgruntled adviser to the fund affiliated with a partner that got pushed out. Which raises an interesting point…everyone knows that VCs pressure some CEOs to make flattering posts on TheFunded, but I wonder if any pressure CEOs to post negative reviews of competitors?
The last thing (and then I’ll move on) is that TheFunded is claiming there’s no way to track down the poster, but I think they are wrong and this post actually tells how (somewhat inadvertently) it can be done. Apparently TheFunded sends invites to prospective members using a Gmail account that includes a random invite code and the message is deleted immediately (by TheFunded). They admit you could subpoena Google to get the recipients’ email addresses, but that you couldn’t ID the exact user because how could you tell one of the thousands of TF invitees from the other? Well, the answer is that they store the "member creation date" which for the account in question is February 9, 2008. So to find out who this person is, all you have to do is subpoena Google and look for messages sent from that account in the day or so before February 9th and voila! My guess is that there wouldn’t be that many emails to go through.
I still think it’s a baseless case, but were it not, I’m pretty sure the "perp" could be found.