On its most basic level, your VDR is like a little gated community (but without the HOA from hell). It may be invite-only, it may be Fort Knox-secure, but it’s still a meeting space where associates and dealmakers gather – and just like your dad said about any community on the planet, “it takes all kinds.” 


Whether you’re in Silicon Valley or Salt Lake City, you can be sure these six archetypes are showing up in your data room. Expect them. Prepare for them. Embrace their inevitability. 


The Sage

Whether they’re the veteran financial advisor you know or the mysterious “chartered market technician buy-side professional” (don’t ask us, we don’t know either) from the other side of the deal, this VDR vigilante is basically a data ninja. When a doc in your Workspace lights up your Dashboard with a scroll’s worth of comments, questions, and speculation from everyone else, The Sage swoops in to clear everything up with a single sentence. 


They’re the ultimate fact checker, the single-blow problem solver, the analytic ace with a blade made of pure data. They are the Batman of the VDR. You want them on your side. 


The Pinterest Power User

Look, we’re big on an elegant UI and easy-on-the-eyes presentation, but the truth is, a VDR is a digital vault. That means it houses all kinds of unglamorous digital paperwork, from NDAs to leases to employment contracts to IP documents from 30 years ago. 


But to the Pinterest Power User, all of that is just a blank slate for a ~vision board.~ You’ll usually find them lost in graphic designing the absolute life out of a pitch deck, and they’ve never met a PowerPoint they couldn’t prettify. They’re damn well gonna divert some budget to annual subs for Canva and the entire Adobe suite, so help me. 


Gentle reminder to use Helvetica for all subheaders, please.   


The Validation Seeker 

It doesn’t matter how senior this person is, they require more attention than a kitten with separation anxiety, and the way they’re gonna get that validation is simple: notes for note’s sake. The notes that come in right after you’ve addressed every other valid note on the deck. The notes that sound more like vague concepts or simple statements than, you know, notes. 


This person definitely puts “visionary” on their resume. To them, the VDR is more like Twitter: a place where it’s essential that they assert their opinion on absolutely everything – experience, knowledge or context be damned. (If it sounds like this person is a Hardo, it’s because they probably are. Here’s a deep dive into how to deal with them.)


Your Absolute Rock

In olden times, this might’ve been your “work husband” or “work wife,” but they’re really just your professional better half. Boomer nomenclature aside, this is the buddy that’s gonna get you through the entire transaction, start to finish. You two will power through due diligence with a psychic sense of simpatico – for you, divvying up tasks is half planning, half Spider-Sense. When cagey shareholder notes start stinking up the VDR, they step in with subtle tension diffusers to save the day.


Just call them Dwayne, cuz they’re your rock. 


Captain Buzzwords

Most likely an angel investor with a condo in Hayes Valley, this tech bro at heart hits the collab space with a constant barrage of buzzwords that trigger your flight-or-fight response. If your deal ain’t “agile” or “disruptive,” you might as well just “spray and pray.” This “intrapraneur” is def going to try to sell you on “acqui-hires,” and you can bet on the words “alternative finance” appearing on their LinkedIn at least twice.


Mr/s. X 

Nobody knows who this person is, or who invited them to the VDR. Everybody just assumes that they were invited by someone else. They are the Deep Throat of the deal, the Cigarette Smoking Man of your virtual data room. When they chime in, the best anyone can do is acknowledge their comment with a strained, “thanks for the input, [insert username]!”


Thankfully, CapLinked’s secure file sharing, customizable permissions and dual ISO-and-AICPA security certifications all but guarantee that even this specter didn’t sneak in through the window. We’re still working on features to mitigate that “too awkward to ask” vibe, though. 


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Dan is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience, currently residing in Dallas, TX. Along the way, he’s been lucky enough to collaborate with brands including Fortune, The Motley Fool, Office Depot, MSN Money, and many more.