Are you wondering how to schedule meetings with investors?
The investor meeting is often the make or break moment during startup fundraising. How do you get these meetings? How do you ace them?
Things have changed a lot over the past year when it comes to startup capital. Here’s what you need to know now…
The Role Of Investor Meetings In Startup Fundraising
These are those pivotal moments when all of your dreams can come true, or not.
There can be a variety of investors meetings from the super casual get to know, to the exploratory, to “okay, you’ve got five minutes to blow my mind and pitch me.”
This is where you justify taking up their precious time and mind space. It’s where you earn the big money to make this happen, grow and recruit the best backers in the world. Or where you at least get some real, but tough to swallow feedback. Or perhaps just waste your time, because you didn’t follow the items below.
Every investor meeting is important whether it is just an angel or a partner at a venture capital firm. Even those that don’t yield and immediate yes can have a big impact on your business and future funding possibilities.
At each funding round you’ll be going through a variety of these investor meetings. They used to be heavily weighted to being in person. Even if you had to fly around the world to meet with them. Things have changed and more and more of these moments will be online. Be sure you are ready.
Do Your Homework
Save them and yourself a lot of time and embarrassment by making sure you have done your research upfront. Bringing in an investor is way more important than the most important internal hire you will make. Be sure you respect that and do your due diligence on them appropriately.
Know what they are about, and make a shortlist of those who are the best fit for your startup, at this stage.
Be sure you are also prepared to tweak your pitch to match them.
One of the most important factors in this current environment is to be sure your data is up to date. A lot has changed. Be sure these investors are actively funding, and know what they are funding and how. Don’t rely on what you heard last year. That may not be true anymore.
How To Get Investor Meetings
How do you even connect with investors to try and schedule a meeting?
If you don’t already know them, you need referrals from someone who knows them. This could be someone in your personal network from school. Or an expert fundraising consultant who has great relationships with all the active investors you need to reach.
With every new investor connection you make and every meeting you attend, you should be asking for referrals to other investors. This is true whether you got that yes, and they are commiting capital, or if it wasn’t for them. Who do they know that this might be a fit for, or who would take up the rest of the round behind them?
I also go into detail in the video below where I cover in detail how to schedule meetings with investors.
Budget For A LOT Of Investor Meetings
You need to budget a lot more than you think for investor meetings.
There may be hard costs, such as travel, technology, and having your team on standby to tweak your deck and customize it for this presentation.
Many of the most successful entrepreneurs who have raised over $100M, and even excited for over $1B, say they have dealt with hundreds of investor meetings that ended with a no. Be ready to have the bandwidth to meet with 200 to 400 plus investors to get that first check.
Allow time for multiple rounds of meetings with each of these investors over a period of weeks and months. Many of them will still be dead ends.
If possible you may want to batch these meetings into a certain daily time slot, or 2-3 days of your week. Do it when you are in your best mental zone.
Start Before The Need
It takes time to build trust and relationships. You want to start out casually, well before your need if impossible. Months before you really need to pitch and ask. If you know you need to close another round in 12 months, now is the time to start these meetings.
On Your Terms
Demonstrate your confidence in the demand for participating in your round by giving them a link to book on your calendar using software like Calendly, when your schedule allows. You set the times you are available. Just offer some flexibility when dealing with investors in different time zones. If you are 12 hours apart, you both might have to be a little flexible. Remember that if you get a yes, you’ll probably be meeting with them quite often.
Master The Pitch
Once you’ve scored these meetings, then you need to show up and wow them.
It’s worth investing in your presentation and speaking skills so that you really shine. They want to know you can sell others too. Including top hires, customers and other investors.
Know what makes a fantastic pitch deck, and how to work the clock during the time you have. You probably need to plan to get through it all in 18 minutes or less.
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising and you will need capital to scale things up. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
Prepare yourself for the Q&A session, and know the questions you’ll be hit with.
Be sure you’ve gotten help crafting a very strong story to make your startup stand out.
Check Your Tech
Investor meetings are increasingly moving online. Be sure everything is going to run smoothly.
Host a virtual data room with all of the most recent and relative data they will need and want. Even beyond your presentation.
Have at least two backups for everything. This includes your devices, internet connection, and the platform you are meeting on. Zoom might sound great, but you may want Google or Whatsapp as backups, just in case.
FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE VIDEO:
Hello, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be covering how to schedule meetings with investors. Meeting with an investor is nerve-racking. It’s one of the most important parts that a founder, an entrepreneur is going to encounter as they’re building and scaling their business. Essentially, it’s all a make-it-or-break-it! There are going to be certain things that you should say, certain things that you shouldn’t say, and how you behave and how you interact is going to make all the difference. In today’s video, we’re really going to break it down for you. We’re going to give you all the insights and give you that clear roadmap and a step-by-step guide as to how to go about it. So, with that being said, let’s get into it.
The role of investor meetings in startup fundraising are really critical. Whether you’re at an angel stage or whether you’re at a venture capital stage, which essentially is early-stage or more like later-stage, it is going to define how you can convince these people, and how you can get them excited and justify the time that they’re giving you.
Typically, what you’re going to encounter when you’re going out there, and you’re meeting with investors is that they’re just going to give you a few minutes. Literally, in the first couple of minutes, they’re going to know if they want to give you another meeting or not.
Again, the way that you need to look at this as an entrepreneur is to always try to get to the next meeting because, ultimately, what separates you and the money are the concerns in-between. Really, what you want to do is always try to secure the next meeting, and on that meeting, more concerns, and then another meeting with more concerns that you get to address, and that will essentially get you to where you want to be.
You need to do your homework before the meeting, whether that is stalking a little bit the investor on Twitter or LinkedIn to see what they are tweeting about, what they’re excited about, what groups they’re following on LinkedIn. You need to find those points of common interest so that when you arrive in the meeting, there’s somehow that background-relatedness that is pressing, that is going to get you nicely in a smooth way into the business talk.
When it goes into the business talk, make sure that you have your pitch deck ready to go. And by the way, below, you can find a pitch deck template that founders are using all over the world to raise millions, which you can just grab for free now. Again, always do your homework, know the investment thesis of that investor, what segment are they investing in, what location they invest in, and then also what financing cycle is a clear fit and what they’re excited about?
In terms of how to get investor meetings, you can get those via your own network. Maybe they’re colleagues, friends, family members. Eventually, if you don’t find a clear way to do that with people in your network, it’s very simple. Just go on websites like Crunchbase or PitchBook and see who is investing in your own segment, and also in your financing cycle and geographic location.
Then, what you do is you grab and reach out to entrepreneurs that have received an investment from those investors that you want to target in the last 6-12 months, and you ultimately connect with that entrepreneur and ask them, after you’ve connected meaningfully, for an introduction to their own investor. Those are the best introductions because they come with social proof. It’s like when you go to an event, and you meet the cousin of a friend or the brother of a friend. That trust is already present with that. You want that social proof to have that instant background relatedness, as well, with those investors that you want to target. So, either directly, via people in your network, or by entrepreneurs that have received an investment with those investors, those are all great ways to really get that introduction into those investors that you want to tackle.
You should budget for a lot of investor meetings, whether that is time, because, obviously, there are going to be many more meetings. Typically, it takes, on average, 100 noes for every yes that you get, so budget for many of those meetings to happen because the bigger the funnel is that you have, the people at the top, the more that are going to come at the bottom and make an investment.
So, again, budget for a lot of those meetings to happen in order to get that investment in. Then, also, budget for money because, really, raising money requires money. That could be traveling, like for the airline, for the hotel, for food, and lunches, or dinners, or drinks, but be ready to spend some money on meeting these investors.
Start before the need. Don’t wait until you have just a few months left of money in the bank because, ultimately, that desperation is going to come across, and those investors are not investing in desperate people, in losers. They’re investing in winners, in people that have that confidence coming out. In order to have that, you need that leverage. That leverage is going to be by having a little bit more oxygen to operate and maneuver just in case of the possibility of weathering hard times.
Again, don’t wait until the end, until the last minute. Get out there as fast as you can, and even if you have a ton of money in the bank and a tone of runway to go, which means more months to execute, at least do it casually because as an entrepreneur, you’re always fundraising – sometimes, more active; sometimes, less active, but always fundraising because fundraising is all about building meaningful relationships.
You also want to schedule those meetings on your own terms. What this means is that when you’re fundraising, you always want to have all the investors scheduled at the same time. You want to have them at the same place because this is like sales. It’s a different form of sales. So, you want to have them all at the intro phase, at the first call phase, at the follow-up phase, at the offering document phase, or even cash being wired and into the bank phase. But always try to have them all at the same time, so that’s going to give you that boost of confidence.
Now, when you’re scheduling meetings again, really always don’t rely on the back-and-forth of maybe this day, what about this time, what about this other day because things are going to fall through the cracks. You should use software, for example, ScheduleOnce or Calendly, that is connected directly to your calendar so that when an investor is ready to meet with you, just send them that link and say, “Okay, great. Thank you so much. Feel free to pick a time that is coming in for you in this link, which is connected directly to my calendar.” That way, they just click on the link, they pick a time, and you’re good to go.
Once you’ve scheduled the meeting, that means that you need to be ready for game time. You need to master the pitch. You need to master the story, and you need to be clear as to how you tell something that is incredibly powerful that is going to get them super excited to jump in. You really need to master the Why, the What, and the How. Because the problem is that when you go into meetings with entrepreneurs going to those meetings, they make the mistake of just pulling up the pitch deck and walking people through every single feature that they can think of.
First, talk about this as if it was a movie. You want to talk about that day that you came up with the idea, how you brought it to life, how you thought about building your team together. It’s like when you’re reading a book, and it tells you the kind of food they ate that day or perhaps what kind of weather was happening that day. It really makes you be part of it. So, you want to do that too.
You want to make them be part of it, and you’re shifting it from the Why to the What, and from the What into the How. The What is what you’re building, that problem that you’re looking to solve, and what’s the solution. The How is how you’re going about that. Always really master the story here. It’s all about storytelling. Storytelling is what captures future possibilities, and that’s what the investor is banking on.
Check your technology. Whether you’re going to be using slides in-person, Zoom, Google, Hangouts, whatever that is, but make sure that it works because the last thing that you want is that you jump in, you’re in the meeting, and then all of a sudden, there are things that are not working out that you could have avoided if you were to have looked before.
I would love to hear on the comment section below what you’re up to and how you’re thinking about scheduling investor meetings. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and Like the video. This way, you’re not going to miss out on all the videos that we’re rolling out every week.
Then also take a look at the fundraising training, which is the program where we help, from A to Z, with everything related to fundraising. There, you’ll find live Q&As, agreements, templates, a community of entrepreneurs helping each other all over the world, and I think that you’ll find tremendous value in it. So thank you so much for watching.