Part 4 in From Seed to Series A: the Partner Presentation
As conversations with investors progress, it’s wise to ask what their decision making process is so you know a) what the expected timing is and b) whether you’re on track. That said, most VCs follow a similar process. Deal teams meet each Monday to review current investment opportunities in order to get feedback from other team members. Here they’ll discuss what excites or concerns them about the investment and collectively the team will decide appropriate next steps — what further due diligence is required, who else from the team should meet etc. Meeting more of the investment team is important as investment decisions are rarely made by one partner. So it’s a good sign if additional partners are brought to follow up meetings. These internal meetings, however, should not be confused with the official investment committee, otherwise known as a “partner presentation”. This is the meeting where founders are invited to present to the investment committee/partnership so they can officially approve or reject the investment proposal. Typically this is the final meeting, assuming it goes well, before the fund can extend a term sheet. Given the importance of this meeting, here are some tips to help you be best prepared:
1. Know the set up of the presentation — how many are you presenting to? Will they all be in the room or will some be on video conference? It’s important that you’re prepared so you feel as comfortable as possible when you present.
2. Ask what information about your company has already been shared internally and learn what concerns the team have so you can be ready to address these.
3. Know how long you have and what the format is. It’s usually an hour so you should expect to present for 30–40mins and allow the rest of the time for questions.
4. A good pitch will always involve a product demo. Even if some of the team are familiar with the product, it’s highly likely there’s someone in the room who isn’t.
5. Seek advice from your sponsor partner as to who from your team should come to the meeting. It’s always good to have more than one person, but never good to have someone who doesn’t speak.
6. Practice makes perfect but don’t be too rehearsed. Remember you’re not only being judged on the content but also the delivery — this is your opportunity to demonstrate you can sell the company and your ambition.
7. If people aren’t jumping in with questions, invite them to do so. When they do, always make sure to answer them. If you can’t answer a particular, question neither avoid it nor make up an answer on the spot — be honest that you can’t and offer to follow up.
8. Remember this is an opportunity for you to get to know the other partners of the fund too so don’t be shy to ask them questions. Perhaps others in the room have made relevant adjacent investments that you’d like to know more about. Or you might think of are other ways they could be helpful — don’t be shy to say so!
This part’s interview is with Ed Chin, CEO & co-founder of Supersolid.