Image by *r.s* Photography * via FlickrThere was a nice article yesterday in the New York Observer by Adrianne Jeffries titled "Steal This Start-Up! No Longer Content to Write Checks, VCs Are Giving Away Their Best Ideas".
The premise is that there's a new trend: venture capitalists are pitching entrepreneurs on ideas, instead of the other way around. I'm glad to see Jeffries call attention to this, but the thing is, I don't think it's anything new or surprising. Good VCs have always shared and pitched their ideas, especially to A-list entrepreneurs pitching them ideas with good "bones". Early-stage investors are not just silent financial backers; they're value-add collaborators. Part of that value-add is helping entrepreneurs tweak their business models, and to the extreme, helping them pivot (i.e. make a wholesale change in their business model).
Why are early-stage investors good at this? They see tons of "deal flow". So, it's no surprise that they have great ideas - their minds are constantly chewing on the aggregation of innovators' pitches.
As a matter of fact, if the VCs you're speaking with have no good ideas, that might be a cause for concern; they're either not the right VC, or your idea is uninspiring.