I have written about scouting, searching for investors, and preparing for the pitch. With this post I’d like to briefly discuss how I like the first meeting to happen.
The dreaded first meeting with an investor is the apex of all the work that you, the entrepreneur, have done. And the beginning of a new phase in the fundraising process.
Let me get this straight. There is no magic. You are just one of the daily meetings this investor will have today. He will surely give you all of his attention, and if you are good you both will enjoy the meeting. If you are just short of good, you will immediately know (around minute 7 of the meeting, when the investor takes out his iPhone and starts reading emails).
Having said that, this is my set of suggestions for the first meeting:
- Have your pitch with you, possibly on your own laptop or ipad, ready for showing. A printed version is not that good, as your audience will feel the urge of skipping ahead as soon as the deck is in their hands.
- Be ready to talk for no more than 15 minutes, and be ready to be interrupted. Often. Do not take it personally, questions are actually good.
- Show passion, vision, engagement. Remember that body language is extremely important.
- If your are attending with your co-founders, then:
- Only one drives the talk
- Avoid the situation where, after a comment by an investor, one of the other attendees comments in favor of the investor, contradicting something the presenter has said. In other words, discuss emerging different views or new ideas AFTER the meeting. Show cohesion DURING the meeting.
Take notes. This is something in between a job interview and a business meeting. Questions, requests for more data and suggestions will abound… In addition, taking notes will prove you take your audience in high consideration.
- Dressing: business casual, if you are in ICT/web. Business in other segments. The later the stage, the more business the attire.
Best of luck!