Tech Transfer eNews Blog

4 steps founders should take before meeting with VCs

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: December 1st, 2021

In her recent post for VentureBeat, start-up consultant Donna Griffit lays out four key steps for founders who are preparing to meet with investors.

“Getting a meeting with a venture capitalist is notoriously difficult,” she writes. “If you aren’t properly prepared, you can burn your one shot to make a great first impression.” Here are the four things she urges founders to do before approaching any investors:

  1. Know that you’re ready. This means having a complete grasp on what your start-up’s story is and how to communicate it to VCs. They need a clear, concise description of the problem you’re trying to solve, and confidence that you’re your business can solve it. They also need to know, understandably, just where their money is going.

“They are taking a calculated risk and need to know what the next steps are so their money is not squandered,” Griffit writes. “Have a precise number you want, in which areas the money will be used, and most important, what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) can be achieved with the funding and for how long.”

  1. Do your homework. If a VC reads your e-mail and notices his or her name is misspelled, there’s a good chance you’ll never hear back. VC firms are flooded with so many start-ups trying to set up a meeting — many of them highly promising, competitive start-ups — that investors often look for little flaws as a way to whittle down the list of prospects.

Also make sure the VC you’re approaching would actually be interested in your start-up in the first place. What industries do they typically invest in? What stage of company? What geographical region?

  1. Build your network. It can be a tremendous help, if not a necessity, to engage with the wider community before meeting with VCs. You should be actively connecting with trusted advisors in their space, other investors, and other founders.

“If they’ve already heard good things about you from someone in their network before they’ve talked to you, then you have a huge head start,” says Griffit. “You get points for how you land on their desk. Venture capitalists are human and, like everyone else, the opinions of the people they trust affect their decision-making.”

  1. Make a teaser deck. VCs don’t want to sift through your entire pitch deck prior to an initial meeting. Sending a teaser deck of just five to eight slides that efficiently describe your start-up will make their life easier and will be much appreciated.

“It also saves you from meeting with an investor who isn’t a right fit,” Griffit adds. “This stops you from chasing dead ends, and you know if someone has read it then they are a hot opportunity because they already know enough to make an informed decision.”

Source: VentureBeat

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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