Thursday, July 30, 2009

VCs and Startups

Here are top 7 things you should remember while pitching to potential VCs:

Be ready with your Product

This by far seems to be the most important aspect that VCs see while making a decision – At what stage of development is the product or service. However good your idea may be, very few VCs will be interested in it. Unless and until you have a working product (even if it is prototype), your chances of getting funding diminish drastically.

Your opinion’s don’t matter, hard facts and figures do !

Your opinions don’t matter to VC’s unless you are credible and have been there, done that. To add to it, if VCs have slightest difference of opinion than what you have, your chances of getting funding can come down to zero. It is always safe to stick to facts and figures when making a point.

Know your competition very well

In general, most of us do this quite well, however we need to know our competition from VC’s perspective. The positives / negatives of competitors and how they affect your business. You have to be very clear about the key differentiators between you and your competition.

VCs are skeptics

You need to understand this well. VCs will always look at your idea and product like a die-hard pessimist. They will only put their money in your venture once they get satisfactory answers for every aspect of your startup.

VCs hate outrageous projections

Never, I mean never try to balloon your figures on projections. VCs see right through it. As mentioned earlier, your projections should be based on solid facts and figures (not your opinions). The moment VC feels that figures are too good to be true, they will turn negative.

Be prepared to be grilled

VCs will grill you on anything and everything. Be prepared to answer questions that you may have never even thought. Make attempt at answering if you are confident that you can take it through. If you don’t, say “no”. VC’s will forgive you for not knowing certain things, but never if they feel you are lying.

Never show your desperation

Always be calm and composed while presenting your idea. You should be enthusiastic, but over enthusiasm could come across as desperation. And if VCs smell desperation in your talk, they will think twice before putting even a dime !

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