Read how Landscape startup is helping entrepreneurs, with its feedback system about venture capital firms and accelerators.
Freya Pratty, Sifted, 13 October 2020
Landscape, a review platform for startup founders to leave feedback about venture capital firms, has launched across Europe — hoping to create more transparency for founders, and bring more accountability to investors.
The platform, founded in May this year by Joe Perkins, allows entrepreneurs to leave anonymous feedback about their interactions with venture capital firms and accelerators, shining a light on this sometime-murky world.
It does not want to be “burn book” where disgruntled founders vent about VCs, so founders have to rate firms on twelve different criteria, including things like approachability, diversity and professionalism rather than just letting rip.
Landscape is a similar kind of idea to VC Guide, which also launched this year. But with VC Guide, verified founders can anonymously write public comments about VCs (which can be pretty brutal if you look through it).
Landscape is free for founders, while VCs can pay for a subscription which allows them to reply to reviews and gives them analytics on where founders feel they’re going wrong. The aim is to help VCs iterate their service, with founders themselves offering the feedback to help them do so, while also remaining anonymous.
The impetus behind Landscape comes from Perkins’ own experience seeking investment for Coursematch, an app that helps students decide which higher education course to study.
“We had been pitching a bunch of investors and I’d been really interested to see how the quality of interaction varied so greatly from each fund,” says Perkins. “We had one interaction in particular with a London-based fund that ended up being a real time waster, and I remember thinking “I wish I had a mechanism to warn future founders!”
“I started exploring the concept of building a Glassdoor for VC, a resource that would empower founders to share their fundraising interactions for the good of the community. More transparency in the ecosystem would not only provide visibility to all founders, but accountability to investors as well.”
The platform had run in a beta form up until the launch, during which 700 reviews were put onto the site. The early data shows that female founders feel less supported than male founders, and it also shows that, across all VCs, the worst scores are for ‘Beyond Money’ — a criteria measuring assistance for startups beyond just financial support — and ‘Diversity.’
Check Warner, a partner at Ada Ventures VC firm, hopes that diversity is something Landscape can help the funding system improve.
“The VC and accelerator landscape is regularly called out due to bad actors or for not doing enough to be more inclusive,” she says. “Landscape’s platform not only provides much needed transparency for everyone, levels the field, and means investors will have to take consistent and sustained action rather than provide lip service, or a one-off.”
Founders too, think Landscape could change the funding system for the better. “I wish I had access to something like Landscape whilst building my first company,” says Alex Depledge, founder of Resi, an architectural platform that helps homeowners plan extensions.
“Raising transparency through a platform like Landscape will help to hold investors accountable, and act as a regulatory influence in a sector too long allowed to behave as it pleases without reproach.”