How to prepare for meeting a VC (a summary of how we look at things).

Behold, our book of rules!

The “Show some respect” rule

First of all, be on time. We’ll probably still spend more time with you than the agreed 30 mins. But you already got red-flagged — see the next rule.
Secondly, the dress code is smart casual — don’t wear shorts but don’t come overdressed either (unless this is the only way you feel comfortable).

The “No A-holes” rule

That’s pretty self-explanatory. Also, refers to jerks. Unfortunately, idiots are in a league of their own — they always show up with the perfect excuse: they don’t know they are idiots. That’s why we try to make the first selection by email.

This is important. Keep it in mind.

The “Send an intro e-mail” rule

Simply showing up at our door won’t do it — unless we hold open office hours; then you’re more than welcome. So, we strongly recommend you to send us an e-mail first, introducing yourself, or ask someone we know to introduce you. Let me be clear on this though: hot intros are not mandatory; we want to invest in good founders, not in whoever-happens-to-be-somehow-connected-to-us. We invest in quality of execution, devotion to work, boldness of an idea, not in personal network.
Coming back to where I started, writing an intro email is an art. Of simplicity. I think I should write a whole post on this topic.

The “Do your homework” rule

If you got an invitation to a meeting, you need to do a bit of research first. Know who you are meeting with — find the one of us more qualified to talk to you, depending on your interest. Know the firm’s focus — verticals, check size, geography, thesis. Already know the basic stuff — the easiest way to prepare yourself is to read Venture Deals by Feld and Mendelson; this will prove useful to you in the long run. Have an objective — make it count; be prepared with a specific ask.

The “Please, have a deck” rule

Please, take your time to put down your ideas — it’s good for you and for us. Make it a deck, not a business plan — ideas vs. paragraphs; action vs. intent; respect for the reader’s time vs. the desire to impress by covering it all. Ideally, include a demo — it’s worth many words, it proves commitment, and is relevant for the quality of execution.

The “Stay in 30 mins” rule

Know your pitch by heart. Be concise. Then boil it down a bit more. Save time for Q&A.

The “Do follow-up” rule

I am amazed at how many entrepreneurs lack the discipline of following through. (Or maybe it’s a cultural thing.) Anyways, keep in mind: fundraising is a process; it takes time; we need to build a relationship and trust. It’s just impossible to make all these in one sitting. So do all of us a favor and keep in touch.

The”There is no rule” rule

Of course, you are welcome to disrupt the rules. But if you do it, make it in a meaningful way and for a bigger purpose. Looking forward to meeting you.