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Q&A Forum

How To Get A Meeting With Potential Investors

 

"How do you go about to get a meeting with an Angel or VC?"

This question was asked at a recent webinar, now available on-demand:

"Creating a Winning Pitch for Venture Capital Investors"

Please add your thoughts about it below. Thanks!

Answers

John Argo
Title: Consultant
Company: Independent Advisory Services
(Consultant, Independent Advisory Services) |

The best path to VC's and angel investors are through their contacts. Think LinkedIn for *exploring* the landscape but not for reaching out. Examine each fund or investor you think would be an appropriate fit just as you would expect them to check you out. Find out which mixers partners attend to cultivate deal flow and take time to try to meet casually but be very prepared.

You need to know age of fund (do investment horizons match your march to liquidity), portfolio makeup (replete with competitors), investment thesis, investors, and subject expertise. You have to determine you're a fit for the fund before investing the significant time to begin pitching investors.

Your general counsel should be able to help get introductions. If they are not well connected AND you KNOW you need VCs, change counsels to one that can help. Venture funding can be a full-contact sport.

The same applies to angels, although it may be tougher to judge fitness. Angels must have some or a lot of expertise in your industry to get the right investment. Angels groups often have dinner meetings and you can be the floor show.

Investors cultivate deal flow in a variety of places and under a variety of auspices, like "mentoring" and the like. Find events that are well attended in your area (geographic or subject) and look for the real players in the space.

And NEVER submit information cold, like through a website. Wait for it to be asked for. Cultivate relationships with the people who can directly introduce you.

Topic Expert
Jeff Chase
Title: Advisory CFO
Company: Hazelcast, Juicebox Energy, and Social I..
(Advisory CFO, Hazelcast, Juicebox Energy, and Social Inertia ) |

Agree with Mr. Argo's comments. I would echo the sentiment of using folks like your GC, your auditors or your big 4 connections, your bankers if they are the right banker (folks like SVB and Comerica for example are well steeped in VC connections), and other 'professionals' that the VC will respect.

Also, from what I have seen working, your team, if they are the right team, should carry some clout with the VC community. In a perfect world they are established players on their own and should carry you far with your brand, if they are the right team player. Keep that in mind when hiring out your exec team - will this VP of Mrktg or this VP of Sales carry VC clout. There is an intrinsic bias to overcome if your team comes from some unrelated space and/or are unfamiliar with the VC universe, or frankly, are more than 30 miles from their office. And i would add, the most important one to carry clout starts with the CEO..

You may also burn time and energy with associates of the actual VC partners. This is a given, just prepare for it. Mining for the right VC is highly inefficient, filled with a lot of non fruitful meetings and phone calls and emails. Do your best to figure out which VCs fit your company's profile first, so you don't waste time on the wrong VC.

For angels, the good news is that with the right connections, they will invest in places that VCs won't go, and the pitch is not as scrutinized. Again, find connections to the angels via LinkedIn as Mr. Argo proposes or any other ways you can get referred in.

Good luck!

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