Venture investors never like to lose money. But if we must, we prefer to lose it approximately 2-4 years after investing. Why? Losing money after more than 4 years is more painful and expensive because of the opportunity cost of our time and that of everyone else around the table. If a company fails after 4 years, it was either a sudden turn of events or a slow, agonizing death...but in either case, we wish we had recognized it earlier and moved on to the next exciting venture.