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. The video below might help with figuring out how to find investors for your startup.
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?
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.