On February 22, I had the pleasure of speaking with Douglas Crawford, the associate director of QB3 the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences in Berkeley –. It was quite exciting to be the first guest on their new podcast, QB3 Bio Entrepreneurship. During our lively hour discussion, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the current state of venture capital, my strategies for investing (see the title!), and how entrepreneurs can better secure their chances of getting early stage funding. As someone who hears 200 to 300 entrepreneur presentations each year, I always feel that it is especially important to share my tips on how to impress early stage investors:
- Always have an elevator pitch ready. You never know when you will bump into a VC. During the pitch, describe what you and your team does, what your product or service is, and how it will change the world. This is not the time to be shy, but also is not the time to ramble on and on. You'll be surprised by how people go on and on before stating what their company does. Respect my time and get to the point.
- Know your market. What are its characteristics? How big is it? Who makes up the market? How will it change in the future?
- Show me the data! So you think your company will be better than what is out there? Prove it to me with facts and figures.
- Think ahead. This is especially important when creating a budget. Predict how much needs to be raised and identify important milestones along the way. Anticipate future regulatory and market shifts. During your presentation, make concise slides that summarize these details.
- Keep your presentation short. 20 slides max. Dedicate some of your slides to frequently asked questions about your company and service. This will shows that you are prepared and will allow YOU, the entrepreneur to control the presentation.
While success is often a game of chance, it never hurts to be a little prepared. Good luck as venture investors are not an easy audience but we are really looking for entrepreneurs with great ideas and who need help to build the next Apple computer.
To hear more from my QB3 discussion, click on the link below:
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Claremont Creek Alerts says
Christine Fu from California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) provides a nice summary of John’s presentation on their blog: Secrets To A Venture Capitalist’s Heart
John Steuart says
Christine, great summary! I encourage everyone to read it.