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1
HackVC.
Hustlers.
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi's
apartment in 2007
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar’s
first office, based...
@fdestin
The Hustle
Pan-European Network Vertical Focus Coverage
Cross Border FinTech
Next-Gen Infrastructure & Security
Mobile Mar...
Dealfow = Lifeblood. Mostly outbound.
• Portfolio companies act
as local “Accel
Ambassadors”
• Organization focused on
unc...
Always Looking For the Next Great Company
Companies Tracked
in Global Accel
Database
Calls &
Meetings
Investments Since
20...
Reality check
You are trying to get the attention of people who have 8 - 12
meetings per day and may not remember your nam...
9
1: Completely Disagree
10: Completely Agree
Survey Results
97 responses
Bias towards early stage
Over 50% found the proces...
How many investors did you meet ?
28% met less than 5 Investors
59% met less than 10 Investors
How long did it take ?
66% ...
Star Investments
Recent activity
Board Load
Cultural Fit
“It was clear to me which partner I should approach at a given fi...
Number of Accel-funded
startups where contact
came from cold email
1
“I managed to get meetings only through introductions...
Intellectually lazy
Pattern recognition 

pushed too far
Lesson givers
Know it alls
“In general, the VCs I met displayed a...
Invaluable insights
Inspired to excel
Kicked my butt
Some VC's offered advice and insights
that I found very meaningful to...
What characteristics matter most to you in a VC ?
Trustworthy
Entrepreneur Friendly
Quality and Depth of Network
Experienc...
Process was transparent and fast
Process opacity drives entrepreneurs mad
“Founders don’t care about difficulties, they co...
Entrepreneur’s VC turnoffs
Approach Engagement Behavior
Intellectually Lazy
Patronizing
Tell you what to do instead of ask...
Approach
Target
Engage
Close
19
Get in(vited)
Do your Research
Don’t
Get the intro
Crunchbase / Angellist / LinkedIn
Investments led
Leverage the junior g...
First call or meeting
In-depth meeting
Engaged process
Done
Partnership presentation
1,000 teams
250 teams
100 teams
20 te...
JohnAccel 2. In-depth meetingDestin Concerned about US
Run a campaign
SteveIndex 1. First MeetingRimer Scheduled 5/30
John...
23
Don’t ever stop running the business
24
Fundraising facts
Fact 2: You are talking to too few investors
Fact 1: Inbound Marketing Wins
25
Fact 3: You are over-esti...
Be a VC - happy founder
1. Being turned down is the norm
2. You can build (real) relationships
3. You are part of an ecosy...
And remember … everyone starts small
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi's
apartment in 2007
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Far...
Some founder pitch advice
Dry run with friends + Train on 2 shitty funds
Know your metrics cold
Your pitch must be perfect...
Level Up - Hacks
Build intangible value : visible board, visible advisors
Practice concerted pitching
Give anyone an excus...
Hack VC - LevelUP Ghent - Fred Destin - 201606
Hack VC - LevelUP Ghent - Fred Destin - 201606
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Hack VC - LevelUP Ghent - Fred Destin - 201606

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Advice for startups on hacking the venture capital process combined with results of an entrepreneur survey about fundraising in Europe - from a partner at Accel

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Hack VC - LevelUP Ghent - Fred Destin - 201606

  1. 1. 1 HackVC.
  2. 2. Hustlers. Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi's apartment in 2007 Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar’s first office, based out of the local Kinko’s Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal in 2008 at their first office, which was also the warehouse Ilkka Paananen sitting at his cardboard desk in 2010 Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room in 2005 where the first versions of Facebook were built Girish Mathrubootham in FreshDesk’s first office where rent was $160 per month Cloudera founding team in their first office in 2009 Stewart Butterfield working out of Tiny Speck’s first office in 2010
  3. 3. @fdestin
  4. 4. The Hustle Pan-European Network Vertical Focus Coverage Cross Border FinTech Next-Gen Infrastructure & Security Mobile Marketplaces Strong Companies in Leading Geos Strategic Relationships with European Teams Mind Share Within Europe Shared Global CRM 8,000+ Tracked companies Calls with founders Meetings 2,000+ 1,000+ 21 3
  5. 5. Dealfow = Lifeblood. Mostly outbound. • Portfolio companies act as local “Accel Ambassadors” • Organization focused on uncovering opportunities early • Methods: AppAnnie, Mattermark, systematic press coverage (new products releases, awards, HN etc) • Strong local presence: hosted over 500 entrepreneurs across 10 events in 9 cities over the last year
  6. 6. Always Looking For the Next Great Company Companies Tracked in Global Accel Database Calls & Meetings Investments Since 2013 8,000 16,000 24,000 32,000 2011 2012 2013 2014 0 4,500 9,000 2011 2012 2013 2014 79 (0.3%) Actual VC Slide with Real Data !!
  7. 7. Reality check You are trying to get the attention of people who have 8 - 12 meetings per day and may not remember your name At any time you are competing with: - 10+ other projects inside a fund and - 100+ startups in the market at large Efficient time management is the #1 skill required to survive as a venture capitalist 8
  8. 8. 9
  9. 9. 1: Completely Disagree 10: Completely Agree Survey Results 97 responses Bias towards early stage Over 50% found the process of raising VC confusing, opaque and frustrating 10
  10. 10. How many investors did you meet ? 28% met less than 5 Investors 59% met less than 10 Investors How long did it take ? 66% spent more than 3 mo 26% spent more than 6 mo 11
  11. 11. Star Investments Recent activity Board Load Cultural Fit “It was clear to me which partner I should approach at a given firm” And yet it’s … ALL … about the RIGHT partner 1: Completely Disagree 10: Completely Agree 12
  12. 12. Number of Accel-funded startups where contact came from cold email 1 “I managed to get meetings only through introductions” Sometimes … cold emailing works So what ? 13
  13. 13. Intellectually lazy Pattern recognition 
 pushed too far Lesson givers Know it alls “In general, the VCs I met displayed a strong grasp of my business” What an indictment of European VC ! 14
  14. 14. Invaluable insights Inspired to excel Kicked my butt Some VC's offered advice and insights that I found very meaningful to my business Common theme : some VC’s stand out … in a sea of mediocrity 28% Burnt 15
  15. 15. What characteristics matter most to you in a VC ? Trustworthy Entrepreneur Friendly Quality and Depth of Network Experienced Supportive Track record of success Risk Taking Collaborative Global Platform / Global Reach Visionary Hands-On and Engaged Influential Analytical Expert Thought Leader Innovative Emerging, rising star 0 17.5 35 52.5 70 16
  16. 16. Process was transparent and fast Process opacity drives entrepreneurs mad “Founders don’t care about difficulties, they complain about unkowns” I got a clear no 17
  17. 17. Entrepreneur’s VC turnoffs Approach Engagement Behavior Intellectually Lazy Patronizing Tell you what to do instead of asking questions Know-it-alls ADD Do not take time to understand Lack of risk taking mentality Focused only on financials Cold Unapproachable Unresponsive “Radar Play” “Send young attractive associates at events playing interested and driving endless follow-ons” Not responsive Slow Unprepared Checking email ! Playing for time Hanging around the hoop Fund competitors Aggressive on terms Bait-and-switch 21 3 18 Sin : Arrogance 18
  18. 18. Approach Target Engage Close 19
  19. 19. Get in(vited) Do your Research Don’t Get the intro Crunchbase / Angellist / LinkedIn Investments led Leverage the junior guys Map them on LinkedIn Invite me on LinkedIn Hassle me on Twitter Invite me for coffee Use other naive methods Get upset if I don’t respond to unsolicited email Target the individual not the firm Founders are best People in your sector are good Personal friends work well Multi-target the same person Get noticed Blogger press Product Hunt Awards are OK Accelerators are OK Clients / traction are best (duh!) Leverage the intro Short, focused emails / TL;DR Seduce and intrigue Generate tension if you are raising Be persistent 20
  20. 20. First call or meeting In-depth meeting Engaged process Done Partnership presentation 1,000 teams 250 teams 100 teams 20 teams 10 teams Know your maths * completely anecdotal data I made up 21
  21. 21. JohnAccel 2. In-depth meetingDestin Concerned about US Run a campaign SteveIndex 1. First MeetingRimer Scheduled 5/30 JohnSequoia 0. Intro MadeBotha Chase 5.27 Mark L.A16Z 1. First MeetingJordan Scheduled 6/12 IntroFund StagePartner Status comment … SteveDST Seeking IntroMilner To Do 22
  22. 22. 23
  23. 23. Don’t ever stop running the business 24
  24. 24. Fundraising facts Fact 2: You are talking to too few investors Fact 1: Inbound Marketing Wins 25 Fact 3: You are over-estimating your chances of success
  25. 25. Be a VC - happy founder 1. Being turned down is the norm 2. You can build (real) relationships 3. You are part of an ecosystem 4. Pay-it-forward 26
  26. 26. And remember … everyone starts small Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi's apartment in 2007 Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar’s first office, based out of the local Kinko’s Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal in 2008 at their first office, which was also the warehouse Ilkka Paananen sitting at his cardboard desk in 2010 Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room in 2005 where the first versions of Facebook were built Girish Mathrubootham in FreshDesk’s first office where rent was $160 per month Cloudera founding team in their first office in 2009 Stewart Butterfield working out of Tiny Speck’s first office in 2010 27
  27. 27. Some founder pitch advice Dry run with friends + Train on 2 shitty funds Know your metrics cold Your pitch must be perfectly prepared so that Understand your audience Know your unit economics cold Know your risks and be open about them Be exciting and memorable Be brave, confident and totally honest Enjoy yourself - good humour is contagious You can deviate effectively You can focus on the audience’s reactions You can always stay on track DON’T Pitch the market Pitch the competition Give long answers to questions Get sidetracked for too long Fear silence Get funded (vs. being right) Get to the next meeting Create relationship Detect toxic investors YOUR OBJECTIVES 29
  28. 28. Level Up - Hacks Build intangible value : visible board, visible advisors Practice concerted pitching Give anyone an excuse to say no Give overly punchy price guidance Miss any short term numbers Hide bad news Badmouth the competition Disclose widely that you are fundraising Disclose who you are talking to Treat bad offers seriously Ever take money from assholes Engineer regular, personalized progress points Pace news flow (e.g. new customer wins) Engineer tension in the process (at the right time) Work to (credible) deadlines Frame the market yourself & reframe questions Prepare the data ahead of time (e.g. cohorts) Practice data rationing Volunteer diligence contacts DON’T 30

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