In reading the NYT piece about the negative experiences of female founders raising, one quote stuck out to me:
"They put up with the comments, Ms. Renock said, because they “couldn’t imagine a world in which that $500,000 wasn’t on the table anymore.”
If you've ever had to fundraise, you can understand this. It's an extremely vulnerable time where you're getting a lot of rejection. When you finally get someone willing to fund what by now seems like a crazy idea, especially after all the criticism you've gotten during the process, you get in a mode of pushing for a close. You're willing to overlook just about anything because you really need this money. Rent is due. Credit cards are maxed. You don't want to lose this fish while it's on the hook.
That's why so many of these founders went down rabbit holes that, in hindsight, maybe they shouldn't have--and where they have gotten some pushback. That's why the agreed to meet at such and such time or place, or ignored the first set of comments.
They felt like this was the *only* opportunity for their company to survive.
The reality, and what it's important to remind founders of, is that there is *always* other money. If one investor seriously wants to put money in, there's nearly zero chance that they're the only high net worth individual or VC on the face of the earth that will get there. You convinced one person, and that means you can convince another.
It's never ever worth having your values take a back seat or not receiving the utmost respect from those who invest in you. Know that you can move on, and there will undoubtedly be a much better partner for you in someone else.
In fact, this is where you can use the ecosystem to your advantage. If you tell community leaders that you got an offer for investment from someone you don't trust or someone that you don't think respects you or your boundaries, so you want to find replacement investors, I guarantee people will be willing to help.
It's one thing to take time to just help someone raising--it's another to help someone who has had a crappy fundraising experience that no one should have to go through. Founders and investors alike will point you in the direction of well-respected and professional investors.
Plus, many of the high net worth angels who mistreat founders aren't serious investors anyway--and there would have always been a strong chance that they would have bailed on you before the finish line.