Once you do convince someone to take the bet on you, use that as a positive signal and let it drive your process forward. Trust me, it gets much easier after the first YES.
Every investor is different. They each have certain things they look for, have experience with, or are passionate about. Some want to spend an inordinate amount of time on your personal story. Some want to dig deep into the product specifics. In short, different investors will dig into different things e. Instead, treat every meeting like a conversation. Instead, come up with 3—5 core things that you want to convey in every meeting. Next, do your research on the investor. Look at their past investments to understand where their interests lie.
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Look at their background to see what relevant experiences they might have. Then go into the meeting and initiate a natural dialogue. Tell your story while actively listening to their feedback and reactions and clearly answering their questions. You need to drive and own the conversation, while still making sure they are engaged and feel a part of the conversation. Takeaway: Do not do the same pitch for every investor.
Have a core set of talking points that you make sure to deliver every time, but be flexible with the conversation beyond that. Learn about the investor before the meeting and treat him or her like your friend — have a thoughtful and engaging dialogue. Sequence your meetings appropriately. Also, a rejection from an angel is generally:. Spend your first few days of fundraising taking meetings with VCs you are less in love with. Polish the shit out of your pitch. Iterate and iron out kinks in your pitch and deck after every meeting.
Takeaway: Sequence your meeting appropriately, starting with angels and less promising firms, and then moving up the ladder from there. Use each meeting to improve your game for the next one. VCs love analogies. My baby is one of a kind. People, in general, find analogies helpful. Analogies help us make sense of the world. Analogies are like mental shortcuts for grappling with unfamiliar situations. They are inevitable. So, use them to your advantage.
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A good analogy can serve as a very strong foundation for explaining your idea, and be a great starting point to help get people interested quickly. Within the first week of meetings, I had somehow managed to convince a few people to invest in me. After that, when the going got tough, there were so many moments when I just wanted to throw my hands up and call it the end.
It was very tempting to just cap the round early with the few backers I knew I had: Who wants to go out and keep getting beaten up day after day? Luckily, a couple people kept pushing me to meet one more person, or one more firm. They believed in me and wanted to put me in front of more people. It felt like a never-ending warp of intros and meetings.
I was running around San Francisco with my purple suitcase, purple bag and purple jacket for two weeks straight yes, my favorite color is purple. I cringed looking at my calendar every morning and seeing meetings back-to-back. Every single meeting was daunting to think about. There were so many moments where I wanted to curl up and hide in a dark corner.
I knew TruStory needed to exist. And I knew that to make this a reality, I needed capital so that I can bring on the best people to build this dream together. That scary reminder brought me back to reality real quick. Takeaway: Never give up too early. Go out there and get the deal you want.
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You need to run the process to the finish line. Sure, there are some rare cases where a founder will meet with a couple investors and get a funding round squared away quickly and easily. So treat it like a numbers game. For the seed stage, the average number of meetings to do is between 20— I was shocked to hear this myself, but it makes sense for a few reasons:. Takeaway: Err on the side of setting up more meetings, not less. This one is self-explanatory. Then, get back to work. As an entrepreneur, you have a lot on your shoulders and limited time to get it done. All VCs know this. So if a VC still chooses to not respect your time and energy — for example, by being unapologetically late to a meeting, not showing up to a meeting, asking to do an unnecessary amount of diligence, taking weeks to give you an answer, repeatedly wanting casual coffee dates — then you should think twice about whether you really want to enter into a partnership with that person.
Plus, is this the same way you want to be treated when they join your board? Takeaway: Seek out investors who are sensitive to your time as an entrepreneur. Associates can sometimes add delays to your fundraising process, or worse, end the process too early before a decision-making partner even sees the opportunity. Quick caveat: Associates are not always bad. So if you can, go directly to a partner. If you have no choice but to start with the associate, treat it like a partner meeting and take it seriously: Get all the help you need to prepare for an eventual meeting with the partner s.
Generally, the associate will have discussed the deal with the partner s before you meet them.
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Ask them what questions and concerns the partners have. Ask them what things you should focus the meeting on. Takeaway: Try to get an intro and meeting directly with the partner. Use the associate to your advantage to help champion the deal in front of the partners. And that he or she is willing to spend that capital on you.
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Oftentimes, junior partners will inflate their ability to make a deal happen.