VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better
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What is my process for fundraising? First off I start within my own network. If I’m thinking about a round the first thing I’m going to go do is talk to the current investors, talk to my advisors, talk to my board and think about the typical fund that might invest.
What is a great fund look like? Forget about the names. Forget about the fund size. If I were thinking about the best type of customer, the ideal customer profile, I might think about this in the same way.
I of course have the pitch down. I’ll put together the preview no more than 10 slides in the deck. I start with blank slides and I start with the titles. I write the titles as if they’re stories. So I won’t have a competitor slide, I might have what is the landscape look like today. The narrative is really important. It doesn’t matter what round I am.
Of course the order of the slides might change. I might change with the SaaS metrics first on a Series C deck versus here I am as a founder on the Seed deck. And that’s an important distinction between the two.
So I’ll have that. And I will go to thinking about the best partner for us to have to join the organization. And then I might take that to my network and say, hey, here’s what we’re looking for. An introduction from someone in my network is worth their weight in gold.
At this stage in the game, 10 years in, I have a good sense of who those might be. And I might even say, do you know a partner at this fund?
it’s not that I’m wasting time by talking to anyone else, an associate or otherwise, I just know that I am really in fundraising mode and I want to make sure I have as serious conversations as I possibly can.
I have the intro to the partner and then I’ll go to the partner and I’ll send that deck to them as a preview. And then it’s me interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me.
I’m a big fan of demoing things. And really getting excited because I’m really passionate as a human being, and that’s what I want them to see is like, here’s the really great thing that we’re thinking about how we’re differentiating how we’re innovating into this space.
But otherwise, I’m interviewing them to see if they’re good as a partner. There’s big funds. Insight’s a big fund, there’s lots of different partners. Rachel Geller, the partner on our board I connected with immediately, and knew that she would be a great partner for QuotaPath.
And that’s the other thing that CEOs tend to fly over. Who’s the best partner for the business? They’re going to recognize it’s my baby or that I’m the CEO. But at the end of the day, as the company scales, those things can change. And they will change and that’s okay.
So if you’re leaning into that, you’re going to show confidence in what the pitch is and what you’re displaying and understanding that so that you’re not afraid of changes.
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