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A guide for entrepreneurs trying to raise angel and venture capital

Insight from a venture capital partner on the right way to think about the startup fundraising process. Whether you're approaching family, angels or large venture capital firms, many of the same themes apply.

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A guide for entrepreneurs trying to raise angel and venture capital

  1. 1. Who are you? <ul><li>Who has been trying to raise money for a while? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is considering raising money? </li></ul><ul><li>Who has raised money before? (Angels? VCs?) </li></ul><ul><li>Who needs less than $1mm? Who needs more than $1mm? </li></ul>
  2. 2. What do you need to know to raise money? <ul><li>Yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Who wants to invest in your type of opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>How to start the process and how to present your opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>How to close the deal </li></ul>
  3. 3. Know yourself! <ul><li>The most important word in raising money is CREDIBILITY. </li></ul>Been there… done that. Proven. Don’t care what the idea is, he’ll make it work. <ul><li>Who are you? </li></ul><ul><li>What impression do you make? </li></ul><ul><li>What makes you credible to make the claims you are making? </li></ul>Steve Jobs has credibility…
  4. 4. How credible are you? <ul><li>Track record of success in technology start-ups? </li></ul><ul><li>Track record of success in a related technology company? </li></ul><ul><li>Deep subject matter expertise and demonstrated savvy? </li></ul><ul><li>Exceptional business instincts with unique approach to business problem? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Credibility builders…. “ This is bigger than Google!” Surround yourself with credible advisors, references, etc Lead with the business story – not the product Be savvy / realistic Acknowledge who you are / who you need Our key technology advisor is the CTO of…. We believe that there are over 1,200 large companies that consider this issue their number one concern…. I can deliver the product but really need the following help… There have been 13 start-ups funded in this area… here’s what we need to do to compete… Serious. Smart. Credible.
  6. 6. Who wants to invest in you? Wasted time Appropriate Targets Approached by Entrepreneur Missed opportunities Good meetings!
  7. 7. Do your homework… We are a $1B fund that makes growth capital investments in military technology companies. Do they want to hear about your cell phone social networking technology? Would they be interested in your Series A proof of concept for a new missile technology?
  8. 8. Investor Targets <ul><li>VC or Angel Organization </li></ul><ul><li>Fit with charter AND fund timing </li></ul><ul><li>Fit with return profile and size appetite </li></ul><ul><li>Lie in area of expertise and / or interest </li></ul><ul><li>What else is in portfolio (conflict? compliment?) </li></ul><ul><li>In the hands of right sponsor </li></ul><ul><li>And, in today’s environment, “wrapped up in a bow” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear market opportunity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defensible technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Well articulated business story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complete team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working technology and revenue traction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Individual Angel </li></ul><ul><li>Fit with personal portfolio and timing </li></ul><ul><li>Personal referral </li></ul><ul><li>Personal interest in the product </li></ul><ul><li>Compelling pitch </li></ul><ul><li>Momentum – “who else is in already” </li></ul><ul><li>Excitement Factor </li></ul>
  9. 9. A few introductory observations…. <ul><li>There is a fundamental disconnect between the perspective of a professional investor and the expectation of an entrepreneur: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The only rational way to behave as an investor is to figure out any reason to say “no” as quickly as possible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So many entrepreneurs are incredulous that they cannot get financing because they believe they’ve provided so many reasons to say “yes”. </li></ul></ul>It is not about how many reasons you gave them to say “yes”. It is about whether and when you gave them a reason to say “no”.
  10. 10. Investors are BUSY – they want “bullet points” not conversations. Really Fast Fast Duration of lightning strike Closing time for average kill Wing cycle interval Time spent listening to “pitch” before interrupting Time spent reading long documents
  11. 11. How to enter the process... Can anyone tell me the goal of a first contact with a potential investor? <ul><ul><ul><li>A meeting is the only way to establish rapport and overcome instant objections to anything you write. </li></ul></ul></ul>So… what is the goal of the first meeting? <ul><ul><ul><li>Another meeting. </li></ul></ul></ul>Implication: don’t be “comprehensive”… tell them what is MOST important and tell them what they want to know.
  12. 12. How to increase probability of getting a meeting: Email or send a business plan 0% Email a well written executive summary 2% Personal referral; phone call; email executive summary. 20% Blood relationship combined with compromising photos. 25%
  13. 13. <ul><li>Key tools for the process: </li></ul><ul><li>A personal introduction to the Angel or organization </li></ul><ul><li>Call before you send an email (your message among average of 300 emails a day) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Elevator email” – reference the phone call. Provide a pithy summary of what is attached </li></ul><ul><li>Executive summary – ideally 1 page, maximum 3 pages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish credibility – If you are Steve Jobs, just send a few bullets on your new idea. Otherwise, figure out how to answer the question “why us” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set the hook </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Follow up to set a meeting </li></ul>
  14. 14. “ Elevator Email”
  15. 15. Executive Summary
  16. 16. <ul><li>The “pitch meeting” </li></ul><ul><li>Ask them what they want to hear </li></ul><ul><li>PowerPoint can hurt as much as help: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assume that you will only get 2 pages before they get impatient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember, the goal isn’t to get through your PowerPoint… it is to COMMUNICATE and build rapport </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Watch for what they “care” about – dive deep when appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommend: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 5 killer slides” – concise, compelling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Another 20 slides that you can refer to in order to answer questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A rational, simple model that does not hockey stick and does not assume anything about exits or IRRs </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Example “Meeting Presentation” First Slide <ul><li>Agenda: </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction to team: 5 Minutes </li></ul><ul><li>5 Key Slides: 10 Minutes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Summary of Market and Pain Points We Address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summary of Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summary of Competitive Dynamics and Uniqueness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summary of Business Model & Traction to Date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial Forecast Overview </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Q&A: Detailed Information On Issues of Interest </li></ul>
  18. 18. Getting to a deal with friends and family… <ul><li>Only take money that you are SURE they can afford to lose </li></ul><ul><li>Set expectations about what kind of investment it is! </li></ul><ul><li>Structure in a manner that is fair to them… and fair to you </li></ul><ul><li>Work with an experienced deal attorney </li></ul>“ Seriously grandma… this is the BEST thing you can do with your nest egg…”
  19. 19. Getting to a deal with Angels… I think I’d rather be raising Angel money… <ul><li>You must have a nimble, experienced attorney </li></ul><ul><li>You must have a credible “lead cat” </li></ul><ul><li>You must signal momentum and urgency in the process </li></ul><ul><li>A.B.C. = Always Be Closing. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Getting to a deal with VCs… <ul><li>You must have a nimble, experienced attorney </li></ul><ul><li>You must be moving at least 2 through the process – or be prepared to bluff that you are </li></ul><ul><li>You must follow up, follow up, follow up </li></ul>