You don’t hear much positivity about the process of pitching to VC’s. There’s plenty of ‘war stories’ on the web, with the emphasis being on the time and energy it consumes, how stressful meetings can be and the level of blunt criticism you may get. However, over the last 3 months and 30+ investor meetings pitching Availo, I’ve realised how enjoyable and useful every single one of these meetings can actually be.
Rarely do you get the opportunity to share your passion with someone who actually has the resources and knowledge to make it into something so much bigger. These meetings should never have the single focus of securing funding — they’re not just a simple sales pitch. Telling the story of your company, getting excited about what your team has accomplished and then, hopefully, seeing someone else get equally excited about it, can be an incredibly uplifting experience, especially if you’ve spent the last week slogging it out on your laptop. Founders need to remember that VC’s love what they do as much as you love the work you do and that they are eager to find other passionate, smart people to work alongside.
When they critique your idea, don’t be insulted as the majority of investors do want you to succeed. Every challenging question or piece of insight should be considered, as they may turn out to be some of the most useful pieces of advice or feedback you’ll ever get as a founder. VC’s can quickly see the weaknesses and flaws your company as they have seen 100’s, if not 1000’s of pitches before you. This critique is vital and can save you countless hours spent on platform analytics, user interviews and financial modelling.
Founders should leave every single investor pitch with a new energy for what they’re building, a clear focus on areas to work on and a solid understanding of what’s needed make your company even more investable. Investors should walk away knowing you love what you do, that you’re willing to work incredibly hard to get there, and that you’re the best possible person to make your company into something huge.
To make this happen I would suggest the following:
- Pitch with passion
Emotion carries a huge amount, so get excited about what you are doing. Not over the top. But show you’re human.
- Know what matters
Don’t ramble. Be concise. Their time matters and so does yours.
- Ask for feedback
Always ask for advice and feedback, there and then. It helps a lot and shows you’re willing to listen and act on advice