When founders tell their story, there is always a chance for a communication breakdown; through email, a text, on the phone, at Demo Day or during valuation negotiations.
The most heartbreaking breakdowns happen when an enthusiastic prospective investor, trying to socialize an idea among his or her colleagues, fails to generate interest because they don’t have the proper tools to keep the story moving forward. Big tears…
I ask founders for five tools to help me consider and share their investment idea;
These help both of us prevent communication breakdowns.
When a founder captures my enthusiasm for their company, I need to describe that business as efficiently as possible to colleagues who will help me evaluate the idea, decide whether to invest and, maybe, join me. The right tools make that happen. Here’s how it starts;
Subject Line: Investment Idea — 5 Word Description
I spoke with an interesting founder this morning. The business is — 5 Sentence Description. I’m attaching a One Page Overview for you. When you get a moment, can we discuss?
Hope you and yours are staying healthy,
If those tools keep us interested, we’ll reach out to the founder and schedule a 30-minute meeting to go through a 10 Page Deck. If one of the potential investors is a VC, a follow up meeting will include several associates and a walk through a Data Room. The founder’s job, at every step of the way, is to avoid giving us an avoidable reason to not press forward.
I love Y Combinator’s deck design. When someone gets serious about funding your company, you’ll need to deliver more diligence documents. Here’s my favorite article on due diligence and a nice diligence check list to prepare a data room.
When your story lights up the right investor, it’s quickly apparent on both sides. Get your tools right and don’t waste time trying to adjust them to fit a business relationship that doesn’t feel right. When you do find that perfect match, it’s better to be “prepared and not asked”, as opposed to “asked and not prepared” for the information they’ll need to write a check.
I heard a Warren Buffet quote once that made me laugh out loud; “I try to invest in [mature] businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”
Early stage investing is as much about what to remember as it is what to do.
So if you've read this far and we sound like your kind of partner, click the link below. It will walk you through the best way we have found to get acquainted.
Looking forward to seeing how we can be helpful.