How To Increase Your Chances of Getting VC Attention For Investment
In his latest blog, A.T. Gimbel shares tips and tricks on how to make it more likely to get a VC’s attention.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to get a VC’s attention:
Entrepreneurs are often trying to raise money. What path to take, when to raise, how much, what type of funding, etc are all variables. Fundraising is a hard process with lots of “No’s.” Here are a few tips on how to make it more likely to get a VC’s attention.
Lines not dots
The best time to meet VCs is when you are not fundraising. Build relationships over time so that every time you meet with them, you are accomplishing what you said you would from the last conversation and showing that you are making progress. Then when time for funding comes, they already believe you are capable of executing because you have proven that over time. Especially at the early stage, VCs are investing based on their belief in the founder just as much as the idea.
Feedback not funding
Rather than asking for funding the first time you meet someone, ask for feedback. Hint, people love giving feedback. Pick a topic that you are curious about and that the VC has experience with in their portfolio. Not only will you learn something, you are also building dialogue and setting the stage for a conversation next time … so I applied your advice and did X and got these results, now what do you think about Y.
Do some research
This one you get what you put into it. There are lots of inbound requests for funding and pitch decks. I read every one of them we get. But what might surprise you is that >85% are generic and don’t reference anything about our company and why we might be a good fit to work together. Sales 101 - talk about the value to your prospect and not about you. I get that you are blasting out as many as you can to see what sticks. But it takes <30 seconds to add our company name and why we might be a good fit (and that immediately moves you into the top 15%). Even better, spend five minutes and write something thoughtful that ties in a portfolio company’s approach, a recent blog post, or something that shows you have put in some effort to genuinely find the right partner. If you do this simple thing, you are immediately in the top 1% as 99% of entrepreneurs do not take the time.
Tell a simple story
Some of the best pitches start with a simple, couple word tagline. It is crystal clear what they are working on. For others I read a 30 page deck and still might not understand it. Some are littered with technology and jargon, but don’t articulate the problem well. Instead, tell a simple story about the problem and how you uniquely solve it.
Get a company site and email
A lot of entrepreneurs reach out with a gmail or yahoo address and no company website. While that is fine when you are getting going, many VCs are unlikely to fund a company that you are not comfortable committing a few bucks to get a domain to push your idea forward and go full time on the idea.
Be transparent with what you are comfortable with
There are sometimes companies that reach out and want investment but are unwilling to provide any details without signing NDAs. Unfortunately we see so many different ideas that we are unable to sign those for every meeting. No problem if the entrepreneur is not comfortable, but know many VCs will be unable to sign. As a side note, for almost any idea there is someone somewhere else in the world with the same idea. The execution is what matters!
There are many other tips and tricks and here are a few other thoughts on writing cold outreach emails and how to think like a VC. Remember VCs are looking to make investments. With just a little bit of effort, you can be in the top 1% of outreach and easily move to the next step in the fundraising process.