How do you make a quality relationship with a VC?

Take-aways from a talk in the Trust Center on 7/5/16

  1. Investing in students/ young entrepreneurs:
  • VCs generally are open to invest in young entrepreneurs/ startups
  • If you’re a student you don’t get a “discount”. you only get one first impression! and need to demonstrate:
    • A great team
    • Product market fit
    • Solving a need
    • ROI for customers
    • Handling competition
    • Vision
    • Addressing risks and challenges.
  • With young entrepreneurs, vcs will look for people who:
    • “Achieve the impossible” – Achieve a lot in a very small $/ little time.
    • Coachable, willing to listen, willing to partner.

2. Relationship building with VCs

  • Build a relationship before you come with the ask. You only have one chance when it comes to asking money so present only when you’re ready: “Ask for money get advice. Ask for advice get money twice.”
  • Working with a VC is working with a partner, and that what makes or breaks your company.  Do your diligence and sign a sheet with a partner that will be a good fit for you.
    • Even within the same firm there could be different types of VCs – try to get the initial introduction with a VC you think will be a good fit (similar interests).
    • Different VC firms might have different approaches. Even if one rejects/ invests, it might be different with others.

3. General feedback/ tips:

  • The VCs invest in your team as much as they do in your product - present your team upfront
  • If the beta customers are paying or you have high retention rate mention it.
  • If you are presenting a complex product, break it down more simply to set the stage – don’t assume it’s clear.
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