Growth5 Blog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prepping For a First Meeting With a VC

This blog post is intended to help you be better prepared for pitching to a vc, or making a sales pitch to anyone.

Brad Feld of Foundry Group explains how he wants you to prepare for a meeting with him here. Great advice for entrepreneur "pitch" meetings (or a sales pitch for the salespeople out there). The highlights:

1. Research the vc firm you are pitching to. It's absolutely imperative that you know what kind of firms the vc you're pitching to invest in. What are some of their recent deals. How can you show the person you're meeting with immediately that you get what they do, that should be your research goal.

2. Figure out one thing you want to communicate during the meeting. Get to the point quickly:
"My firm has developed voice recognition software for the iPhone so the user can dictate emails, text and send them without touching the phone. I'm meeting with you today because I would like you to partner with us by investing in our company and sitting on our board."
Using this example, what NOT TO DO would be to spend the first 15 minutes of the 30 minute meeting throwing out all sorts of iPhone statistics and voice data points and then 'wowing' your audience with your product. People watch movies, tv, they think a build up is necessary. Nope, not in these type of meetings. Lead with it, right up front.

3. Bring one thing to the meeting your audience can learn from. Some new data that relates to your product that is relevant to the types of companies they invest in. Even if the vc knew about it already, it shows that you are paying attention to what's important to them. I'm often amazed at how little entrepreneurs pay attention to their own space. It shows.

4. Be cognizant of time. Verify how much time you have for the meeting up front, and stick to it. Even if it's clear the meeting is going great and the vc just asked you a nine-part question, if you're coming up on the meeting deadline, ask if you can go over the pre-determined meeting length.

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