“Here’s my idea. I want your money.” That’s a relatively quick out for me as an investor, because you’re not showing me that you’re an entrepreneur.
The following are quotes from Chris founder of C2 Ventures. It’s how most VC’s think.
Q: New tech companies – pre-launch through the first two years or so. What are the patterns you’ve seen? The do’s and don’ts?A. In this day and age, first and foremost, without having technical DNA in the cockpit, you’re doomed to fail. You have to have an understanding of how quickly technology is moving. It’s not enough to hire your third or fourth person as the VP of Engineering and assume everything’s going to be great. You need that person as committed from the outset as the potential commercial lead of the organization.”If you didn’t quit your job to do this, then you’re not serious.”
So mistake No. 1 is using some outsourced development shop or a friend who’s going to do it. Without a best-in-class technology co-founder, that’s a mega red flag. You can’t really think about or present a company without having that domain expertise because you basically have half a deck of cards.
Q. That would seem like table stakes to me.
A. It’s not, unfortunately. It’s still problematic. A lot of people believe they can navigate the early stage through PowerPoints and things like that, and the truth is they often can. The biggest dilemma for some of these startups is that they lean on friends and family to raise, say, $750,000. Where most of the startup failure happens is when they go looking for the next tranche of money.
Q. What else do you want to know about the team when they’re pitching you, beyond their expertise?
A. How long have you known each other? Did you just meet a few weeks ago? Is there a history of working together? When you look at a lot of successful companies, there are usually two founders who are friends, and what that means is that there is trust. Because without trust, you’ve got nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have the idea for the next Instagram.
Investors also want to see some level of traction, sweat equity, and pain. Show me your scars and bruises before you come to ask for money