Don’t start to pitch Venture Capitalists until you’ve tested their likely level of interest in your startup. This means making the effort and spending the time to build relationships with potential VC’s before you ask for money.
And for those thinking that connecting with VC’s is ‘easier said than done’, sure it isn’t easy. But time and time again persistent entrepreneurs manage to get a few minutes with a VC whether its being at an event the VC is likely to be at, connecting via social media or getting an intro from a founder of one of the VC’s portfolio companies. It helps that VC’s like to give advice.
Make it clear to the VC at the outset that you’re not looking to raise money at this stage. This increases the chances of you getting some of their time. Ask them for feedback on your product and strategy. Even if you never raise capital from the VC you’ll gain some useful insights.
The Art of Pitching Without Pitching
If the VC agrees to give you some of their time and feedback, then they’re likely to want to see either an executive summary or pitch deck before agreeing to meet or schedule a call. This means that although you’re not at the stage of fund raising, you need to have these documents ready. This will present you and your startup as forward planning and enable the VC to quickly understand your business.
The implications of the above are that to maximize your chances of getting funded, you need to start the fundraising process long before you need to start raising venture capital and master the art of pitching without pitching (for those too young to remember watch Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter the Dragon’).