May 19, 2023

VCs — do you know what your weaknesses are?

Each of the VC archetypes has their own weaknesses

After a decade working with dozens of VCs, we’ve identified three dominant archetypes for VCs: the Athlete, the Connector and the Intellectual. 

Each have their own superpowers, but they also have blind spots and fears. In this article, we want to dig into the weaknesses of each archetype and how a better understanding of their biases can help investors make better investment decisions. 

Let us get into the weeds and explore the different archetypes in more depth:

The Athlete archetype

The Athlete is the type of venture capitalist known for their strong, competitive drive and focus on achieving success, but this may also cause them to struggle to develop an investment thesis or they may be too quick to jump on deals without doing thorough due diligence.


Athletes' fear is missing out on deals or losing a deal to a rival. They worry about not being the best and may feel threatened by the success of their peers. This fear can drive them to make impulsive decisions or to engage in overly aggressive behaviour.

The Connector archetype

The Connector Archetype is a master of EQ and people instincts, and creates collaborations and long-term relationships with ease. On the other hand, he or she may struggle with people-pleasing and knowing when to say no. 

Connectors' fear social rejection; being an outsider or being disliked. They thrive on social connections, and the thought of not being included or appreciated can be unsettling. This fear can mean they worry about disappointing others, so become overly focused on keeping everyone happy. This in turn can drive them to make decisions that are not in the best interests of their performance and fund.

Michael McGraw, principal at Inovia, shares how his Connector archetype shows up in his daily life: 

  • Bonding to a fault: While some approach networking from a very transactional perspective, during my catch-ups I often get side-tracked from the VC chat and end up learning about their parents' favourite sport or their dog's personality traits while not mentioning a single deal. I see it as still being worth the time building the relationship and that deals will come in due time. It varies from one relationship to the next, but I wouldn't enjoy the work as much if there wasn't a personal side to it." 
  • Learning when to say "no":I've struggled with this. My latest approach is to prioritise communities that are close to my heart (LGBTQ+ and Canadian expats) and friends of friends. But, ultimately life is long and the world is small, so I believe in serendipity and allocate part of my time to helping even when there's no immediate ROI. As my own mentor would say, ‘When in doubt, be generous’.”
  • Dealing with overwhelming admin: “One challenge with meeting so many people is the non-stop coordination, from the restaurant bookings to the conference travels. I’m now lucky enough to benefit from administrative support and I view it as Inovia recognising my archetype and allowing me to focus my efforts on building meaningful relationships." 

The Intellectual archetype

The Intellectual archetype is highly analytical and data-driven, with a focus on depth of knowledge in their field, uncovering valuable information and using it to make well-informed investment decisions. Intellectuals may struggle with emotional intelligence, intellectual arrogance or being perceived as lone wolves.

Intellectuals' fear is "getting it wrong" and being perceived as stupid. They hold themselves to a high standard and may feel a sense of imposter syndrome if they make a mistake or fail to live up to their own expectations. This fear can drive them to become overly cautious or to avoid taking risks, which can limit their ability to make bold investment decisions.

Stefano Gurciullo, partner at Redstone, shares two examples of how his Intellectual archetype has taken form throughout his professional journey. 

  • Distinguishing between exciting technology and exciting products: "Especially at the beginning of my career, my deep dives would easily blur the distinction between technology and product. Good technology does not necessarily imply a good product with a sound business model behind it. The blurring had a material impact on how I would select for teams and spend time analyzing investment opportunities, making it less efficient to skim through the fantastic work of founders whose technology, albeit promising, was just not ready for the market."
  • The more you know, the less you know: "Let's be honest: in many tech sectors, the amount of research performed does not equate to building more certainty about the future. In fact, oftentimes it is quite the opposite. What quantum computing paradigm will win the race? What decarbonisation technologies will be able to scale through the industrialisation phase? What neuromorphic hardware will be the best at both energy efficiency and at supporting the next generation of AI architecture? We just do not know right now. I can find that paralysing sometimes, and if taken to an extreme, it risks freezing investment decision-making until an opportunity has gone. It is crucial to learn to thrive amidst the uncertainty." 

Learning from your fears

Fears and blind spots are often carried around at a subconscious level and/or repressed, so they aren’t discussed — despite the fact that each of the fears we’ve shared are incredibly common. But identifying fears and weaknesses can give investors the chance to work through them. 

For example, as an Athlete, your motivation to be the best and win the most prolific deals can sometimes lead to rash decision-making and getting caught up in the hype. Remember to also focus on the bigger picture and build deeper knowledge.

On the other hand, Connectors can sometimes struggle with maintaining rigour in their market coverage. Looking at how to improve their due diligence process can help Connectors make better, quicker investment decisions and avoid wasting time or getting caught up in opportunities that are not the best fit for their portfolio.


For Intellectuals, developing communication skills and emotional intelligence is crucial to building better relationships with founders and other VCs. 

Careful self-reflection is an important aspect of leveraging your dominant archetype, addressing your blind spots and working through your fears. Of course, it's important to remember that no VC is a perfect archetype, and there will always be blind spots and areas for growth. However, by embracing self-reflection and leveraging their unique strengths and learning from others, VCs can become more effective investors and happier humans. 

Take our quiz and find your archetype

Julius Bachmann

Julius Bachmann is an executive coach based in Berlin focused on working with entrepreneurs. He is also cofounder of JRNY.

Freddie Birley

Freddie Birley is a mindset and performance coach for entrepreneurs, and investors.