Walking around TechCrunch50 today I saw quite a few pitches. I think I can simplify what makes the pitches bad down to this (incorrect) theory:
Investors are drunk party girls at closing time at the bar.
Bad pitches usually come from thinking this.
If you want to get busy with an investor between the term sheets:
- Don’t pretend you are the only startup in the world
- Yes their boots are made for walking
- Don’t pretend you are the only chance the investor has to hook up
- If they say they are interested, they probably are, in seeing you leave
- Don’t ask them ‘I was just wondering, do you think your friend is into me?’
- For the love that is all that is good in this world, don’t bring up valuation on the first date
- Don’t ask if they brought their checkbook to the party
- Respect their time
- Talk up to them, not down on them
- Saying “you are going to leave this on the table” won’t get you anywhere
VC’s and quite a few angels only do one of three deals a year. You are trying to be one of these three.
- Know that if there was a desert island, and there was only one other person in the world…. you get the picture… they might not pick you. Might not be you, might be them, but whatever the reality, sometimes it will never work out
- Don’t complement their style (“I love that blue shirt”)
- They are looking for dealflow (usually) not the messiah
I guess what I am saying is, don’t ask them to sit on your bed and make a move. You are building longterm relationships here, not a one night stand.