You’re Doing Investor Meetings Wrong

You’ve sent out hundreds of cold e-mails. Now you’re finally meeting with that big shot VC. How can you make sure you don’t blow it?


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Many founders I meet with make the same mistakes over and over during meetings. Here are a few of the biggest flubs, so you can avoid them!

1) Not leaving enough time for questions. Leave at least half the meeting for questions.

If you have a 20 minute meeting, leave the last 10 for questions. If you have an hour, 20 minutes presenting and 40 minutes answering questions is a good balance.

So often, I see founders spend almost the entire time presenting, leaving maybe 2 minutes for questions. Since I usually have 5-10 questions, that’s not nearly enough time!

Investors have certain objections you need to overcome to get a check. Answering their questions helps overcome those objections and get you the money you came for!

2) Don’t take too long to answer a question. When you answer a question, take about the same amount of time to answer it as the investor took to ask it.

If the question asks for a number, don’t respond with a story. This is a big red flag to me that the founder is hiding bad news.

Here’s an example of the wrong way:

Question: What’s your customer acquisition cost?

Answer: We’ve been trying a ton of different campaigns this year, and we’re having some really good luck with them! YouTube has been a great platform for us, we’ve gotten a lot of customers from there.

Instagram was not as effective until we started doing partnerships with influencers. Molly Cooks, who has 10,000 followers, did a collab with us recently that did great!

This is long, meandering, and doesn’t answer the question. Instead, try this:

Question: What’s your customer acquisition cost?

Answer: Our CAC is $37.

3) Don’t assume the investor knows anything about your company. For many angels and VC’s, their calendar is one 30 minute meeting after another, all day long.

This doesn’t leave much time to research each company before the meeting. And of course, sometimes we’re just lazy and entitled! 😂

So never assume the investor has looked at your deck, tried your product, or knows anything about your industry.

4) Be ready to present or just talk.

Some investors like to see you go through the deck and present the company formally. Others just want to have a conversation.

Even though I always look at the deck before a meeting, I still like to see the founder present it.

Reading a document on my own is one thing. Hearing what the founder has to say about it is quite another.

So be prepared to run the meeting as a presentation or just a conversation, depending on the investor’s preference.

If you can run a tight meeting using these principles, your odds of getting a check skyrocket. The investor clearly understands what your company does and you’ve addressed all her concerns.

What questions do you have about investor meetings?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

There will be no blog tomorrow. I have an acting gig.

See you on Wednesday!

More on tech:

When Are You Ready to Raise a Seed Round?

USV’s Albert Wenger on Climate and the Post-Capital World

Shopify’s Tobi Lutke on Layoffs and Building for the Long Term

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Photo: “Wrong Way” by Elaine with Grey Cats is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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