Will he ever answer me…?

By Guillaume Meulle

Finding our email addresses is easy; using them to send in your pitch is also easy… BUT it immediately leads to the wildest fantasies:

· “Will he ever answer me?…”

· “When?”

· “What if it ended up in his spam?”

· “Will he have enough brain availability to give the attention that my pitch (obviously) deserves?”

· “What makes him say YES?” “What criteria?”

· “And within what timeframe?”

· “Was it a good idea to send it in on PPT? Aren’t Google Slides cooler??? Aaargh!!!”

Keep cool!

If you sent your pitch to the right VC, don’t worry, it will be quickly identified, read and analyzed. But since I’m sure you want to know a little more about the other side… here’s more on what goes on between the moment we receive your pitch and the moment we actually decide to meet you.

Imagine that you are about to revolutionize (i.e. digitalize) the… bolt industry. We, VCs, immediately become bolt buyers (in great numbers that is, if possible).

After reading through your pitch (which, need I remind you, will take no longer than 3'44, so remember to be concise and to the point), we will bounce onto our favorite browser to screen your website.

As bolt buyers, we naturally have precise and specific needs (materials, robustness, price, quantities, availabilities, transport, etc.) and we want to be immediately reassured on these specific criteria. The website therefore needs to be clear: Do I understand the product? Does it make me want to go any further? In addition, we also stalk you on your marketplace, blogs and app stores, in order to gather customer feedback — like any good old bolt buyer would do!

Get it? A website that doesn’t match your pitch plus negative customer feedback won’t take you to week 2…

And once reassured, the bolt buyer slips back into his VC costume (…and sneakers!)

What you ought to know, is that when we start a fund, we commit to our investors’ investment strategy — and we need to go by it.

The VC may want to check the following criteria:

· Is the startup located in a country where the VC can invest?

· Is “digitalizing bolts” (i.e. the bolt industry) an existing investment area for the fund?

· Is the startup at the right maturity stage? (for us, that means: “not too young and not too mature either”… but we’ll touch on this soon, in a new post).

And then he does his secret sauce…

· What is the size of the addressable bolt market?

· Do the recent KPIs show strong growth?

· How promising is the founding team?

In other words,

· Can the project quickly develop into A GREAT COMPANY?

So think about this when you design your fundraising decks.

Hey, wait a minute, haven’t we met already?

Finally, we enter the project in our database. This allows us to quickly see if the project has already been screened in the past and to retrieve the pitch that was given at the time. We also look into the project changes and evaluate the progress during the given period:

· Has another team member recently reviewed the project?

· Did they take action on what was said last?

And if we received similar projects:

· How well does this one differentiate from the others?

· Is the pitch any better or worse?

“Will he answer me…?”

Yes. VCs answer everyone. Even with a “No”.

But before we take our decision, we spend 15 to 30 minutes reading a pitch, doing the research and screening our database. Then we talk to a bunch of colleagues whom we know have an informed opinion on the subject (on bolts).

And…- unless you’re outside our investment target, unless your project implies a bad customer experience, unless we’ve already seen another team member, or unless your pitch is weaker than the previous one — we will invite you to meet us because VCs are curious people. And we will sit down with interest to listen to you… and your bolt story!

And we’ll do our best to be quick, because we know you’re in a hurry ;)

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