What to avoid in getting to your first pitch
(1) Assuming that a partner is bestEveryone will tell you that it is best not to approach a VC cold – introductions through trusted networks, meeting investors at events, or somehow creating a relationship with your target investor are obviously more preferable and more likely to yield results. VC funds often see thousands of potential deals every year, and will usually only invest in a handful. The funnel is harsh for the majority of submissions. This article has more tips of how to develop relationships and get to your first pitch meeting. But if you have a truly compelling business idea which you think will make it through the triage process, it is best not to assume that emailing it to a partner is undoubtedly the best choice. Most firms will have an established triage process for inbound enquiries, most often handled by associates and principals. A cold approach to a partner with whom you have no relationship is most likely to end up in the standard triage process anyway, just with an added layer of conversion.
(2) Broadcasting to every member of a firmAgain in the case that you are approaching a firm with a cold enquiry, it will not multiply your chance of securing that initial meeting if you email multiple members of the firm. More likely it will cause minor irritation, and provide an easy excuse for rejecting your approach.
(3) Choosing detail over brevityThe aim of a pitch document sent to a VC is to secure a first meeting. VC firms see thousands of deals, and simply have no time to read a long deck, or worse, read through a prose based business plan. Your pitch should every time rank brevity and impact over depth – don’t you want to leave the VC with questions he/she cannot answer in order that they invite you to pitch more fully? Detail is of course critical to a deal completion. But deal completion is several steps down the chain from getting to that first pitch, or indeed from the first pitch itself. Balance your content at the start and encourage a continued dialogue by leaving some questions for the VC.
Visit the next page to find out about convoluted preamble and getting ride of slides in this look at how not to pitch to a VC.
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