Why VCs Should Prioritize Founder Coaching πŸ“’

Startups are cool, right? They disrupt old ways of doing things and can make a lot of money. But there’s a less talked about side of the story: running a startup can really mess with a founder’s mental health.

A report by Startup Snapshot, called β€œThe Untold Toll,” shows that 72% of founders feel that starting a business affects their mental health. Anxiety hits 37% of them, and 36% experience burnout[1]. Despite these scary stats, only 23% reach out to a psychologist or coach for help[1].

This means there’s a huge problem going unnoticed in the startup world. VC firms, who invest in these startups, need to step up. It’s not just about caring for the founders’ health. When the founder is in good mental shape, the chances of the startup succeeding are much better.

Mental Health: The Silent Startup Killer

The startup world looks shiny and exciting, but the truth is, most startups fail. About 90% don’t make it, often within the first five years[2]. Sure, there are many reasons why a startup might fail – no market for the product, running out of money, or a weak team[2]. But one factor that’s often overlooked is the founder’s mental health.

A stressed, anxious, or burned-out founder can seriously hurt a startup. These conditions can affect decision-making, creativity, and leadership – all vital for a startup’s success. So, the healthier the founder, the more likely the startup is to succeed[1].

The Hard Truth: Founders and Mental Health

Running a startup isn’t just stressful; it can lead to serious mental health issues. A study by a guy named Michael A. Freeman, who’s done the startup thing himself and is also a psychiatrist, gives us some worrying numbers about founders:

  • They’re 2X more likely to suffer from depression
  • They’re 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
  • They’re 3X more likely to abuse substances
  • They’re 10X more likely to have bipolar disorder
  • They’re 2X more likely to end up in a psychiatric hospital
  • They’re 2X more likely to think about suicide

These stats show how important it is for VC firms to offer mental health support. Doing so is not just about taking care of founders. It’s also about building a healthier, more successful startup scene.

Coaching: A Game-Changer for Startups

Here’s where coaching comes into play. A good coach, especially one familiar with startups, can give founders the help they need. Coaching isn’t just about dealing with stress; it’s about giving founders the tools to be the best they can be.

More VC firms are starting to get this. They see that coaching is not just good for founders; it’s also good for their investments. By paying for professional coaching, they’re boosting their chances of a successful return on their investments.

How I Can Help: Coaching for Founders and VC Firms

I’m a coach who specializes in working with VC firms and the founders they back. I get the unique pressures of the startup world. I can give founders a safe place to talk about their worries and fears and help them handle stress, improve their leadership skills, and take care of their mental health.

But I don’t just help founders. I also work with VC firms to build a culture that values founder well-being. I can help VCs understand the mental health challenges their investments might face and give them strategies to provide effective support. This way, both founders and VCs can work together on mental health issues.


The startup world doesn’t have to be so tough on mental health. By putting mental well-being first and bringing in professional coaching, VC firms can set their founders, and therefore their startups, up for success. It’s not just about mental health; it’s about making the startup world a better place.

If you’re a VC firm that wants to see your startups succeed, I’m here to help. Together, we can make sure your founders don’t just survive the startup world, but actually thrive in it.


[1]: Startup Snapshot report, The Untold Toll: The Impact of stress on the well-being of startup founders and CEOs, 2023

[2]: Startup Failure Rates, Failory, 2023