How To Strategically Prepare For A Venture Capital Meeting
I recently had the great opportunity to advise student-led ventures in the role as a venture capital advisor. The program, BUILD, is dedicated to proving the power of experiential learning through entrepreneurship and igniting the potential of youth in under-resourced communities.
Love engaging student-led ventures from under-resourced communities. Thanks @BUILDMetroDC, @alicianfuller and @CHECDC students for the opportunity to learn how to repel liquids from shoes with beeswax. #DiversityandInclusion #dctech #startup
I met with students to discuss business plans, provide feedback and support, and release funding if appropriate. One thing that I found particularly helpful was the agenda we were following. The set framework of Q&A allowed the meeting to flow smoothly in a step by step process. What we were applying to 10th graders can be directly applied to adults trying to navigate the investment process.
Having personally experienced meetings (on both sides of the table) that have gone on a tangent, practicing your pitch ensures that you will communicate everything that you want to say in a clear, coherent manner. This is also an important part of your development — professionally and personally.
Below is a quick (30 minute) four-step agenda to rehearse with a friend or colleague before meeting with a VC:
1. Introductions : 5 minutes
- Founder should introduce herself by name, team role and background
- VC Advisor should introduce herself by name, employer and position
2. Business Pitch Presentation: 10 minutes
- Product Offering - Pain statement, value proposition, market opportunity, research, manufacturing process and product demo/sample
- Marketing and Sales Plan - Target market and ideas for places to sell and ways to promote the business
- Financial Summary - COGS, sales/profit projections and financial ask
3. VC Advisor Q&A: 5–10 minutes
- What questions do you have about the product and or service?
- What educational and professional experiences led the founder to where she is today?
- What areas could use more clarity?
4. VC Advisor Feedback: 10 minutes
- What advice and suggestions do you have for marketing and selling this product?
- How could the design or manufacturing be improved?
- What other feedback should the team receive on delivering the pitch?
This is just a simple agenda that you and a colleague can use for pitch practice. In its basic form, your counterpart is role-playing — performing the part of a VC (advisor). Also, the questions and cadence may change depending on your product or service. What would be even better is practicing your pitch with a real VC.
Finding the “right fit” between an investor and an investment opportunity is never easy. That’s why some firms like Village Capital are developing tools to help align the language and expectations during those discussions. If you have other techniques or exercises you use to hone your pitch, then please leave it in a comment below. I’d love to hear it!
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