Pitching VCs: know their gut calls

The better VCs usually have fairly pointed questions while maintaining a fairly friendly exterior (many fail on one, if not both, of these metrics – though most tend to be friendly, despite the stereotype).  Our goal is really not to proceed lock-step through the basic mental checklist I mentioned earlier, it’s all about identifying the key issues and gaining comfort you’ve addressed those concerns.  Neophytes or amateurs (myself often included) will march through down this list, but it does show inexperience if they are asking questions with obvious answers.

For example:

  • If you come to me saying mobile bowling lane booking – I’m asking about market size, not whether it is going to work (that’s assumed).
  • If you come to me telling me about a insulin delivery device, I’m not worried about market size.  I’m probably worried about IP and approval, possibly go-to-market strategy.

Other major concerns that I see very often: scalability, crowded competitive/substitutes space, addressable market size, revenue/business model, long-term defensibility (an acceptable answer is “it’s not” rather than defending something that’s not).  Think hard about the top one or two gut issues investors will have with your idea and be prepared to NAIL them This is your best chance at success.

Furthermore, investors (possibly irrationally) love metrics:

  1. Traction (uniques, page views, etc.)
  2. Cost per acquisition  (relevant search term costs, conversion rates, etc.)
  3. Customer’s lifetime value  (revenue per customer, churn rates, etc.)
  4. Engagement metrics  (number of returns, social sharing or virality coefficient)

If you don’t know yours – get on it!

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Posted on October 2, 2011, in Venture & Start-ups. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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