What should I have in hand when I meet with VCs?

QUESTION:

I have a meeting lined up… Now what? What should I have in hand (documents, demos, etc) when I walk into a meeting with a VC/Angel Investor?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

In addition to confidence, you should have the following:

* A PowerPoint that outlines your business plan. Keep the PowerPoint short. Less than 15 slides is the rule. You can have extra slides at the end — just in case they want to go deeper on certain areas.

* It’s good to have a working demo of your product. VCs like to see something actually functioning — not just a presentation. If you can let them get their hands on the product and use it, that’s great.

* You’ll need a full operating plan that goes into detail on your business’s operating costs, revenue, user growth, staffing, etc. This should cover three years of operation. Usually, it’s enough to highlight a few key figures during the pitch, but sometimes the investors want to dive deep, and you need to be prepared.

* It helps to have a printed version of your full business plan that goes into more detail than the PowerPoint on all aspects of your business. I like to have my operating plan laid out as a detailed spreadsheet (focused on numbers), while my business plan focuses on the big picture, with supporting graphs and charts. No one may ask for this during your pitch, but it’s good to have it handy.

* Anything tangible you can show the VCs helps. Printed reviews of TechCrunch coverage, awards, books you’ve authored on the subject, etc. These all make it real.

* It’s nice, but not necessary, to have other team members by your side. This makes it easier to pitch. Also, it makes your company feel alive — like it’s more than just you.

* You need to be prepared for hard questions about revenue, growth and the market. Imagine if you were investing in someone else’s company. Ask yourself all the tough questions in advance and be prepared with concise answers.

* It helps to have a list of key milestones — ones you’ve hit and ones you intend to hit over the next few years. VCs want to see where you’ve been and where you’re going.

* It’s important to have market data. You should know the market and have data to back it up. VCs adore good data. They love to learn new things, and the more you can give them, the happier they’ll be.

* Lastly, you need to know your numbers like the back of your hand. You can’t be fumbling around when they ask you what’s your burn rate, when you’ll reach profitability, or how many users will you have in six months.

I hope this helps!

Comments & Advice:
  1. Budha Has says:

    As the old saying goes. A bird in hand, better than VCs in the bush. 🙂 So, what should you have in your hand? A bird = Revenues, traction, customers.

    Why?

    Build the business for building the business. Not for getting VCs. Do talk to them, do let them know where you're going with this. Do make them believers. But Do NOT waste your time. Remember, 1 in 1000 startups get VC funding. You may well be the other 999. Focus on building traction, get customers, get them to pay, then let VCs come to you.

Make Your Comment: