Enter the Complex Mind of a VC – How to nail your next meeting with a venture capitalist

 

Warning: If you are a VC and reading this article – you may have a chuckle at some of the points below. Leave me a comment if you have any other suggestions

Imagine you are now Alex Smith – partner at one of the countless San Franciscan tech VC firms with waterfront views.

You either went to an Ivy League college or most people you know did.

Day in day out you receive close to 100 slide decks. You probably only read the first and last slide – taking a second glance only if the unit economics slide makes sense.

You may as well be a baseball catcher – you receive that many pitches.

Your circle of acquaintances is large but your circle of trusted friends is small & exclusive.

You have fought long and hard to be in the role you have and thus it carries a certain element of prestige.

You either cycle, swim, do marathons, weights or do nothing at all.

The things you hate most in life are people who are too verbose, people who waste your time and people who promise the world and under-deliver.

There is one thing that you love – people who say no to your money – as they are usually the ones you want to work with most.

You normally wear a vest emblazoned with the corporate logo.

Money isn’t your currency – it is access to the best deals .


With the above points in mind – if you are meeting with a VC for the first time here are a few points of advice.

1. Know your Prospect

Do thorough research on three things – the personal investment history of the VC you are meeting with, the investment history and tastes of the firm and most importantly the personal background of the VC you are meeting with.

Focus on building rapport throughout the conversation without being overt – and focus your conversation around positioning your firm as one that is in strategic alignment with previous investments.

2. Know your numbers

Most VCs have strong quant/data focused minds – present solid numbers and be able to back it up in depth. Most founders I know simply do not have the acumen required to negotiate these complex discussions so some background in SaaS valuations and business planning is a must.

What numbers are important you ask – for initial chats I would suggest:

  • Cost of Acquisition and breakdown of channels
  • Customer LTV
  • Annual Recurring Revenue
  • User Numbers and 12 month growth figures

3. Know the market

Even if your startup is good, it simply may not have the depth of market required for VC interest. Focus on highlighting the potential

4. Don’t position yourself as an idea but as a problem solving, functioning business

VCs hate ideas. They want to see you solving a real world problem with measurable results. Eliminate that word from your pitch

5. Leverage your Existing Wins

Try and make note of who you are working with now and try and secure at least one deal with a portfolio company – this is my biggest snippet advice particularly for SaaS companies

6. Position yourself as an Influencer

Come highly recommended – before asking for a meeting – spend months prior getting portfolio companies or 1st degree connections of the venture partner you are targeting to recommend you or spread word of your achievements. That way when you finally set a meeting date – they are eager to see the person behind the vision

7. Offer something in return

In the lead up to the meeting – also forward information about 2-3 other exciting opportunities and offer intros. Nothing is more helpful to a VC than uncovering other potential opportunities.

8. Make your mark and be unique

With pitching being a task multiple times a day – do something to be different and remembered. I suggest bringing swag at a minimum.

9. Propose an Agenda for the Meeting

VCs appreciate structure – take the time to propose a draft agenda and highly likely you will get feedback prior to the meeting and can even save time by answering some questions in advance. However be cautious here as you don’t want them to make a conclusion on the opportunity without speaking with you.

10. Secure a Follow Up Meeting/Task

Make sure you don’t leave the meeting without a mutual commitment to act further – there is no such thing as a chat, always secure some kind of milestone.

About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of WolfofYorkStreet.com – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at increasemyonlinebusiness.com. Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube