Meeting with a VC

Much has been written about the VC process over the years. The best VC and founder blogs have a done an amazing job at shedding some light and advice on a process that had previously been mysterious and confusing. 

Some of the important ways to prepare are to choose your VC targets wisely, do they have the same style as you do, do they share your vision, check references, and be clear about your objectives in the meeting. Partnering with a VC is a big one and should not be considered lightly. 

Yesterday, Mark Suster shared his thoughts about how to best prepare for the actual meeting itself. Mark describes a number of things in his post including who should be in the room, who should do the talking and an outline for your powerpoint deck.

I like Mark a lot, he has a terrific blog and I usually agree with much of his advice.

His post nails a number of important things like: what is a VC looking for? 

Above all – the quality & potential of the team


But there are a couple things in this particular post that don’t work for me personally (every VC is different!).

First, if it’s an early stage company, I don’t need to see a powerpoint deck. I’m comfortable with introductions and then getting into the demo. Or if the demo isn’t ready, then follow Bryce’s wonderful suggestion about hitting the whiteboard. As Bryce’s points out.

When an entrepreneur steps to the whiteboard the energy in the room totally changes. There’s movement, there’s action, there’s something happening that requires attention. The conversation moves from consuming images on a screen in lean back mode, to active engagement. Half baked ideas get refined, new ideas emerge and a two way dialoge develops where a one way monologue once was.

So true.

Two other things I’ll call out from Marks post: marketing size and exit strategy.

When I think about all of the countless presentations I’ve been through, the market size slides never do it for me with early stage companies. Those slides are always way over the top or they don’t communicate the idea that the startup is trying to create a brand new market that doesn’t exist or taking on a market that is fucked up and needs to be fixed or changed. 

I would rather hear from the founder why they are passionate about the thing they are building vs taking some percentage of a contrived market size slide. 

And when it comes to exit strategy…..well, let me just say, I don’t care much for that slide at all. If you meet with me, please leave it out.