Congratulations! Your VCforU one pager was so amazingly done ;) that an investor has asked to meet with you to learn more. Now you are probably feeling a strange mix of emotions, which are all valid, from happiness, excitement, sense of accomplishment, combined with a healthy mix fear, intense sweating and lack of sleep. If you have been through such meetings before, you will notice several types of investors, those that always appear nice and those who will be brutally honest with you, for good or bad. I am not sure which type is better. However in both cases, these investors will probably look for the same thing and the result will be the same (negative) if you don’t prepare very well for the meeting.
Here are my 5 tips which will help you prepare for the investor meeting:
1. Know your market
Investors want to know that you understand where you are in the market, what other players are doing, what are the problems they run into, what is the gap in the market, who are your main competitors (direct or indirect), how are you better than them? Why will you succeed where they did not? Is it a lucrative market? Are there a few big players or many small players? Are there comparable exits in this field? Remember investors are there for high returns, they are not there to learn about interesting technologies. Entrepreneurs who are too focused on their technology, and do not have a good sense of their general market, will probably not do well with investors.
2. Know your business
This may seem like the easy part, it's your business, however many entrepreneurs sometimes get sloppy when talking about their business model, overlooking key business aspects which matter just as much, if not more than their technology. The key point investors will like to understand is how you will make money. You need to have a very clear and easy-to-understand answer. A good way to showcase your model is to take just one customer as an example, show what their problem is, why they would buy your product, who in that company is your customer, how you will reach that person, how much they will pay, and also what are the costs and margins of this deal. Having a solid model will then enable the investor to extrapolate this one deal with 100 or 1000 customers and do their own projections. They need to trust that your model makes sense and that their investment will indeed result in a profitable growing company. The more data you have to back up your assumptions the better.
3. Come with the right attitude
Investors normally don’t like arrogant “know it all” entrepreneurs. You need to be humble yet confident. You should respect your competitors and definitely not badmouth them or say you are smarter or better than they are, this sort of attitude will not sit well with investors.
Also make sure you have a positive attitude towards the investors themselves. Show that you know about their fund, their investment strategy, their previous investments, exits, and more this shows respect and that you have prepared for the meeting.
4. Have all your slides ready
Make sure your presentation looks visually good, I would advise to contract a designer to review all your slides, fix any English errors as well. Make sure your presentation touches on all the key points (this is a different topic and there’s a lot of info online about the investor presentation), don’t crowd your slides with too much text, you want them to look at you, not read off the screen. Make sure to have backup slides to support your data or assumptions, incase the investor digs a bit deeper. If possible show a live demo. This is often the best way to showcase what it is you do, and that it indeed works, thus reducing a development risk for the investor.
5. Logistics to ensure a smooth meeting
Be on time! You don’t want the investor to wait for you, this shows lack of respect and you will start off the meeting on the wrong foot. The investor will most likely be one person, sometimes two, so I would advise not to bring more than 2 people from the company, ideally the two founders. Reduce setup time during the meeting to zero, to do so, before you walk in the door, have your laptop open with all the slides, demo up and running etc. Make sure you have your cables, connectors, chargers for any unexpected emergency. Lastly look sharp, look alive and make it rain.
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