As a startup founder in Silicon Valley and advisor to some of the hottest startups in the last five years, I have had the opportunity to understand founders, fundraising and the startup growth process. (Full disclosure: I was a consultant for Uber and Airbnb and a startup advisor for Salesforce Ventures and Google Ventures.) In 2018, I moderated 12 pitch competitions across the country, funding 10 up-and-coming startups. But it isn’t easy being a founder in highly competitive Silicon Valley, and funding is becoming scarce. Here are my top dos (and don’ts) for grabbing the attention of Silicon Valley investors.
Silicon Valley and the world of startups in general is supposed to be a safe space for unconventional thinking and weird ideas. But spend much time reading about startups and talking to those involved in them and you quickly realize that, like every other segment of the population, VCs, entrepreneurs, and techies have their orthodoxies.
When you’re raising capital, a great startup pitch can make or break your funding efforts. I’ve heard thousands of pitches over the years, given quite a few of my own, and spoken to hundreds of entrepreneurs about their experience with raising capital. What I’ve noticed is a pattern that emerges again and again: the founders who get funded are the ones who use every rejection to improve their pitch.
Just as the best businesses are the product of many failures along the way, the best pitches are born out of many bad pitches that came before. The entrepreneurs who give these pitches take constructive criticism to heart, constantly reworking their slide deck and tweaking their delivery until they have a truly outstanding pitch that investors respond to.
Even if you think you already have a great pitch, there are some really helpful strategies you can use to inspire investors and customers to take action. Drawing on my own experience and feedback from fellow entrepreneurs, here are proven strategies to deliver a pitch that resonates.
6 min read
Today, Series A investors are now looking for more and more traction before leading large Series A rounds. Institutional seed investors have followed suit — increasingly investing only in companies with some demonstrable success in the market. And because institutional seed investors are funding slightly more mature companies, a new pre-seed category has emerged to fund companies one step earlier.
Finding startup investors. Entrepreneurs make a common mistake when it comes to raising money for their startup — they don’t start soon enough. They think they should put their heads down and develop their prototypes or set up their business, and then put some thought into getting funding. But it doesn’t work like that. You can’t spend six months building a prototype, then wake up one morning and decide it’s time to fundraise and watch the money flow in. You have to network in the finance community as you build your business to secure the right funding.
A while back we had a sponsor called StartEngine and I was really excited about it. The reason was because it was a new way to raise money. But what really got my attention was the bio section of the founder. His background was fascinating.I invited him here to talk about the revolutionary was his company is enabling entrepreneurs to raise money as well as his previous companies.Howard Marks is the CEO and Co-Founder of StartEngine which is an equity crowdfunding platform, connecting investors with startups.
The Israeli VC industry have gone through a major shift over the last few years, as it became younger and much more global. The profile of the new Israeli VC is young, ambitious but humble, well-educated, with global experience and much love for what Israeli tech represents to the outside world.
A new breed of entrepreneurs is creating huge consumer brands — like MVMT and Tuft & Needle — without venture capital, and laughing all the way to the bank. “In Silicon Valley, it’s often embarrassing when you haven’t raised money,” Ali told Recode recently. “When I’d go to parties or dinners, entrepreneurs would talk about how many employees they had. But for me, it was just me.”
On this week’s episode of “Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch,” one contestant learns what’s going on behind the scenes is more important than the product she’s pitching.
The pitch deck is a presentation that entrepreneurs put together when seeking a round of financing from investors. On average pitch decks have no more than 19 slides. Ultimately founders need two different sets of pitch decks. One version will be with a lot of text and information which will be shared with people via email. The other version will be the pitch deck that entrepreneurs present to investors in person with more visuals. Having more visuals will contribute to having investors focused on you.