Female Founder Office Hours: A guide to getting what you want Part II

On the 5th and 12th November, Playfair Capital and Tech Nation are bringing together 60 of the UK’s leading VC investors and 200 female founders for Edition IV of Female Founder Office Hours.

Ahead of our last event, we published some advice from our team on preparing to make the most out of each call. Below are some further thoughts on how to prepare for and then consolidate takeaways after the meetings.

Before the event

As important as getting access to investors is, making the most of the opportunity while you’re there is key too.

Our team’s Guide to getting what you want outlines some aspects of prep that may be useful to consider — TL;DR:

  • Know what you want (and persevere to get it);
  • Get to the point;
  • Be confident*;
  • Know your audience;
  • Know your stuff and your market.

*a very crude oversimplification, see the article for full reasoning

Measure meeting outcomes against objectives

Whether this was your first time attending office hours, or whether you’re in full fundraising mode, it is useful to decide beforehand what outcomes you desire from each 15 minute session.

You will know before the event who the four investors you’re speaking to are. Research them, look at what parts of the business they find most exciting, and their advice for office hours.

Each VC may have different areas of expertise, so your aims for each meeting may have been different and should have been tailored to their strengths. Regardless of what the key desired outcomes were for each conversation, measure against them after office hours.

Most VCs taking part have been interviewed for the ‘Meet the Investors’ series, where they discuss their areas of focus and excitement and give advice

If you went into a meeting seeking an introduction, did you get that? If you had questions about specific parts of your business, have these now been answered? If you wanted to test a different style of pitching, did you do that and get feedback?

Reflect on each meeting —separately

Think about each of the four 15 minute sessions separately — what parts of your business you discussed, how you structured your time, interesting points that may have come up.

During the event, you will have 2–3 minutes between each meeting. Use that time to write down the key takeaways from each meeting, to prevent all conversations from blending into one — an hour of four back-to-back meetings goes by very fast.

Investors. Moving beyond measuring the tangible outcomes you came in for, how did each meeting go at a high level? Who is directly relevant in terms of funding? Who might not be a direct fit but could be a great mentor? Set these out before you make a comprehensive follow up plan.

Themes. If certain points came up multiple times (e.g., your go to market) then think about what this may mean — whether it is a fundamental challenge or a presentation issue, and where you should now spend your time to improve your next investor conversation.

Follow up

A key driver behind Female Founder Office Hours is to facilitate connections between early-stage female founders and investors. As with founders, VCs are extremely busy, all the time. As a result, they may not be likely to suggest a follow-up meeting during the call and even less likely to proactively follow up after, even if they were interested by what they heard or genuinely wanted to help in some way.

Follow up — promptly —after you have reflected on each meeting.

The following could serve as a starting point:

A direct ask. If a VC offered to make an introduction to an industry contact or another investor, follow up to ensure they make that intro. If you forgot to ask a specific question, do that.

Feedback. If what you’re building is not a fit for a certain fund, a direct approach (e.g., “Can we schedule a pitch”) could just lead to a simple ‘no’ and end the relationship.

If that was the case, ask for feedback on your presentation style, dig into which parts of the business they had most reservations about. This is the most risk-free VC environment you will encounter in your fundraising journey, so make the most of it.

Building a longer-term relationship. Regardless of if you are already fundraising or not, speaking to investors and building out relationships will take time and (a lot) of perseverance. During that journey, every route is worth pursuing, even if it does not seem directly relevant at the time.

Bringing it together

Setting aside an hour after the event to run through your notes, reflect on the feedback and make a plan of follow ups and changes to your deck or roadmap is as valuable as attending the event itself — put a hold in your calendar now to make sure your give yourself that time.

If you would like to meet any of the 60 VCs participating in this remote edition of Female Founder Office Hours, please register here before Sunday 18th October.

You can follow the Playfair team on LinkedIn, Twitter, Forbes, Vimeo and here on Medium. If you’re a male founder and would still like to pitch us, please submit your application on our open-to-anyone pitch page.

You can follow Tech Nation on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re a founder, you can register for the free Founders’ Network programme.

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