032. Too Early

When you're talking to an investor that writes checks at your level, and they're telling you that you're too early, here's the real problem: you haven't sold them on your vision.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

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I talked to a founder the other day, who was frustrated by being continually told he was too early. It’s especially frustrating when you know the people you’re hearing this from actively invest in companies at your stage. But an investor saying “you’re too early” is not the whole story. 

There are of course cases where you are actually too early. And you can vet this pretty quickly with an investor by asking direct questions such as, ” do you invest pre-revenue? Do you invest at my stage? What do you typically look for for companies at my level?”

With those questions you’ll know if you are actually too early, and even better you’ll know what you need to talk to in your presentation. 

When you’re talking to an investor that writes checks at your level, and they’re telling you that you’re too early, here’s the real problem, your vision. 

You haven’t sold them your vision. 

Mike Maples from Floodgate says that great founders are like time travelers. I love this. I’m going to paraphrase his explanation and riff on it a bit. 

You need to come from the future and tell the present day investor what the world is like with your product at full-scale. How have you changed people’s lives? And, as important, what are the inflection points, that bring your future into existence? 

When you sell the vision, you’ll have an investor who wants to bring that world into existence with you.  And even if you are, in fact, too early for that fund, you may have a strong lead for your next round. 

The earlier you are the stronger you need to sell the vision. Even with traction, you still need to sell the vision. 

So take a minute, time travel to the future, look at the world, and tell me what it’s like.  


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