One Metric You Should Never Track When Fundraising

Aaron Dinin, PhD
3 min readJan 23, 2020

I stumbled across a thread on Twitter the other day where entrepreneurs were comparing the number of investors they’d pitched. For some reason, they seemed to be using the number as a badge of honor, with a higher numbers being more impressive than a lower number. “What the heck?” I thought to myself. “Shouldn’t the goal be to pitch as few investors as possible?” But, when I imagined people bragging about how few investors they pitched, I found myself thinking that wasn’t any better. Is tracking “investors pitched” is even a metric worth tracking?

Early in my entrepreneurial career, I remember conversations I’d had with other founders that were similar to the Twitter thread. We’d be bragging about the number of investors we’d met and how well-known they were. Meeting with a Sequoia VC? Check! Meeting with an Andreessen partner? Of course! And on and on.

I thought there must be something special about my company and the work I was doing — even if none of those VCs were funding me — simply because investors were taking my meetings.


A huge part of an investor’s job is to take meetings with entrepreneurs. It’s part of what they call “deal flow,” and they need good deal flow in order to identify good investments. So they spend large chunks of their weeks meeting entrepreneurs and being pitched to. In fact, partners at standard venture fund will hear somewhere in the range of 600–900 pitches per year. That’s an average of two pitches per day including weekends!

I have no idea how many startup investors are in the world, but Crunchbase returns over 100,000 results when filtering for “investors.” So let’s say there are at least 100,000. If 100,000 startup investors are listening to an average of even 500 pitches per year, that’s 50 million pitches heard each year by investors. In that context, no matter how many pitches you did last year, it won’t seem impressive, right?

So why brag about the number of investors you’ve pitched? All you’re telling people is “I convinced investors to do their jobs and listen to my pitch.” Big deal. You wouldn’t brag about the number of times you went into a restaurant and the server brought you your food, right? Bragging about the number of investors you’ve pitched is basically the…

Aaron Dinin, PhD

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @