Great insight Tim. I agree that pattern recognition and data-backed decisions can result in a less emotional process for the VC.
When I opened Nordic Fund in Russia we met with seed stage companies all over the country. And the data doesn’t lie. Most startups fail because of the team so we focused on identifying strong teams that had a history, had gone through the panic period that every startup goes through, and had established relationships (partners, customers, etc) we could verify.
Of course this was just the start of our process. But because we put this first in the process map, we were able to quickly “weed out” the startups that didn’t fit and save time. Building a relationship is key here.
Our investment memo’s also focused on what we felt the startup needed to grow, or what issues they needed to fix. That feedback for the entrepreneurs was invaluable. In the end we made amazing relationships that grew into other opportunities.