There are a million reasons why you might not be getting meetings with venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road. The most common reason is that you’re simply not trying hard enough. It turns out that it is REALLY easy to get a meeting with a VC – it is his job to meet with you. Referrals are the BEST way to get a meeting, but if you don’t have a referral you can make your own. The following is my sure-fire method for getting a meeting every single time:
- Step One: Identify the VC and partner you want to meet with (make sure the partner you choose funds startups in your space).
- Step Two: Identify the CEO of each company where the partner is a member of the board of directors.
- Step Three: Call the CEO and let him know you are considering working with [partner name from VC] and you wanted a reference. 100% of the time I have left a voicemail after dropping the name of the VC I have received a return call. The CEO will be happy to give you a reference and you’ll be surprised how candid many CEOs are.
- Step Four: Call the VC and let him know you talked to his CEO and that he received a glowing reference. Ask for the meeting. 100% of the time the VC will return your call and as long as your company is in the right space and at the right stage you’ll almost always get the meeting.
Despite the fact that I’ve shared my ‘sure-fire’ method each week I get a message from an entrepreneur asking for help finding an investor for his or her startup. The message goes something like this, “Working on the next big thing, can you refer me to a few local investors?” In variably I will put this request in my ‘to-do’ mailbox and forget to respond. Sorry? Not sorry? Here is what you CAN do:
Remember that scene from Jerry Maguire where he tells his client, “HELP ME HELP YOU!”
Here are 9 things I need so that I can you can help me help you:
- Explain the stage of the product/service: idea, prototype, mvp, revenue, growth, exit…
- Tell me about the team: how many people, functional skills, full-time/part-time…
- Explain the funding you seek: seed, angel, series a, series b
- Tell me how much you are going to raise: $100, $250, $500, $1M (whatever)
- Tell me the form of the investment: common stock sale, preferred stock stale, note…
- Tell me who you’ve talked to previously and their thoughts
- Tell me how you plan to spend the money – i.e. what are the use of funds?
- Tell me your future fund raising plans after this raise.
- Send me your fund raising docs (if available) and your deck (a must).
You may not have all of this information, but send as much as possible. Save me time. If I can help I will. If you make me send you an email asking for this information – well I’m not going to. I might send you this post and ask you to try again. But no hard feelings right?