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Getting investment from a VC
Twitter: @willmcq / @frontline
1. Frontline Ventures
2. Getting a Meeting
3. The Pitch
4. What next?
Section 1. Frontline Ventures
We are a pioneering early stage venture capital firm, believing
in ideas, and investing in passion. We are looking for ambitious
teams with global ideas!
First Fast Follow
We are able to go
early and aim to
be the FIRST
We spend time
and networks so
that we can make
We have a fund
large enough to
startups in future
Section 2. Getting a Meeting
Sometimes it might seem difficult but not if you know what to do…
Why are you raising capital?
§ Pay wages/bills?
§ Build a product?
§ Scale a company?
§ Expand Internationally?
§ Get strategic partnerships?
§ Business mentoring?
§ Financial security?
Because not all capital sources are created equal
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL § Friends & Family
§ Angel Investors
§ Crowd Funding
§ Prepayments by customers
§ Venture Capital
§ Corporate Venture Capital
Geography Round sizes Follow vs lead?
Hands on/off Traction needed?
Be selective about the investors you target
§ Do your homework in advance (Don’t approach people who don’t
invest in your stage, sector or geography)
§ Be very selective about who you approach first
§ Most relevent to your company
§ E.g. ex-entrepreneurs in your space, VCs who’ve invested in
your space, industry expert who can invest
§ Investors in your space will either see the opportunity or give you
the best feedback
§ Early wins with the right investors, can create momentum
Understand your target audience! (VCs)
over run with messages
§ Companies pitching at every
§ Not even counting time with
Therefore time is in
§ Approach investors in the right
way and at the right time
§ Be prepared when you do
DRINKING FROM THE FIREHOSE
How to Approach
GO THROUGH A CONTACT!!
§ E.g. Angel, another VC, industry
§ If you have advisors or investors
already ask them who they can
introduce you to
§ At events don’t pitch your company,
pitch for a meeting*
§ Intelligent tweets
§ Ask for advice rather than money at
*Jason Bell – 3 steps to meet investors at events- http://bit.ly/XDV2Wv
* Tip: use facebook and linked
to find someone to introduce
us, not to contact me!
Treat it like a process (courtship)!
§ Get a meeting (date)
§ M1: Deal with market and team
§ M2: Deal with financials/other
§ M3: Show progress from last
VC’s don’t do
What to send?
§ LESS is more at the
§ NO Dissertation emails!!
§ Don’t send word doc,
powerpoints, always PDFs
§ Initially short pitch deck is
§ Send more later if they then
Death by too much information
Different VCs have different preferences and layouts. Some prefer
team early, others market size, others product. Again understand your
Sequoia has a good break down of key elements to address
1. Company Purpose
2. The Problem
3. The Solution
4. Why Now
5. Market Size
8. Business Model
Some tips from Dave McClure
Focus on getting
1. Company Purpose
§ Define the company/business in a single clear sentence
§ This should be a brief and to the point slide, but still catchy so that almost
instantaneously it portrays to the viewer the raison d’etre of your
company and makes them want to know more
§ Don’t use any business jargon or lingo
AirBnB: Book rooms with locals rather than hotels
Mint.com is the free and easy way to manage
3. The Solution
Vitamins are great but you NEED a painkiller
How do you solve this problem better than anyone else
Demonstrate your company’s value proposition to make the
customer’s life better.
Mint.com First Pitch TechCrunch40
§ Do you know how your money can
work for you?
§ I’m going to make everyone in the
room over $1,000 in 6 minutes!
4. Why Now?
(page optional, often part of market slide)
It’s going to be a long road why start now?
§ Why is now the right time
to do this
§ Define recent trends that
make your solution
§ Trends could be related to
channels, user behaviour,
5. The Market
Identify who your target market is
Calculate it either by:
§ TAM: Total addressable market
§ SAM: Serviceable Addressable
Market (SAM < TAM)
§ SOM: Serviceable Obtainable
Market (SOM < SAM)
If possible use bottom up approach
Big vs. Niche
§ List the main competitors
§ Why are you different, what
competitive advantages do you
§ 2 axis graph are useful (see
§ Don’t tell me there are NO
competitors there are always
§ Don’t hide competitors because
we will find out about them and it
just makes you look worse
7. The Product
§ I want to see a demo, screenshots or
a video. Something that will show me
§ Key features, functionality, design, IP
§ Development/feature roadmap
§ If doing a LIVE demo: practice and
have backups as things will always
*(tip: just have it on a video)
8. Business Model
Things I want to know:
§ What is your revenue model*
§ What is your distribution model
§ Product pricing
§ Customer pipeline
§ Customer validation
*Tip: Don’t list too many revenue models, it
makes it look like you don’t know how
you’re going to make revenue
9. Team (Why you?)
§ Who are the founding team and
why are they amazing
§ Who are you advisors/strategic
§ List core positions that you need
but don’t have filled yet
§ If you have potential people for
these then mention it verbally
AirBed&Breakfast – Team
They didn’t show the team slide
§ Lead Engineer
§ Founded a
company at college
§ Ran a design
§ Rhode Island
School of Design
§ Lived in AIRbnbs
Nathan Blecharczyk Brian Chesky
§ UX / Designer
§ Founded a small
§ Rhode Island
School of Design
10. Financials / Deal
§ If you’re looking for seed capital, the investor does not need to see
detailed financials in the pitch (but do need later)
§ If you have revenue/profit tell the investor
§ Current monthly cash burn
§ How much do you want?
§ What are planning on doing with the capital raised?
Some Extra Pitch Tips
§ Speak to VCs before you start looking for capital
§ Good design makes a pitch better
§ Less words is better (Guy Kawasaki – font 30 smallest. Extreme but
anything bigger than font size 16 is fine.
§ Expect to be constantly interupted (that’s a good thing it means
investor is engaged and not bored)
§ Ask for a range not a fixed amount (e.g. €300-500k not €500k)
§ Finish on a high (and by the way we have just reached 1,000
customers, launched, got a new amazing CTO, raised ¾ of the round
§ Make sure you have new milestones / traction for the next meeting
Section 4. What’s Next…?
§ Keep us updated in-
§ Some investors are
slower to give answers
§ Get them to give you
timelines and if they’re
slow follow up with
them with updates
§ Investors are not slow
on deals they like and
What to do next?
So we said NO… what next?
§ Ask for feedback
§ Be gracious with criticism and
don’t take it personally
§ The VC doesn’t have to give any
and she/he’s giving up their time
in doing it
§ Remember that you may be
looking for capital in the future for
this company or maybe for a
different company so keep the
§ We are not the only source of
capital! Ask us if we know others
that are more relevant to you
But what do we know!
Bessemer Anti-Portfolio… who they said NO to!!
VC is Not the Only Source of Capital
c. 75% of technology
acquisitions in 2012 &
2013 were of non-VC
“I call my product ‘The Wheel’, but so far I’ve been
unable to attract venture capital”
So we said YES (we want to invest)…
§ Build your round (again back to the first slide why are you looking
for money, expansion, advise, customers etc…)
§ Termsheets and Legals (a conversation for another day)
§ Do due diligence on your investor!! (On the fund and the partner)
§ You did the courting and now we’re getting married (so make
sure you choose wisely!)
Now back to focusing on your actual company!