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  Q1 2007 - Volume 1, Issue:123
  The First Tryst with the VC

In 'Alice in Wonderland', the foul-tempered Queen of Hearts, at the slightest offence, proclaimed "Off with their heads". While many may think this is close to how VCs behave, there are no such nasty monarchs in the VC world and thankfully so.

However, there are some guidelines to consider for the first date with a VC. Although, it is no guarantee to a commitment of investment, it will at least ensure that you have an open door to build a relationship.

Presentation : Check if your presentation has all pertinent information. Keep slides to a minimum of 15 or 20 and don't forget to print extra copies to cover contingencies.

Flexibility : the other name for agility: It is important to have an agenda, but be willing to accommodate. Don't bristle if interrupted. Think before saying "Let's take questions in the end".

Hone your pitch : Great ideas without a succinct and articulate explanation are like unmined diamonds. Make sure to quickly express your idea with clarity. Provoke interest, don't induce yawn.

Curiosity equals interest : Ask questions. Probe. Relationship is all about similar fit. Be open to feedback and don't shy away from respectfully disagreeing, if you are convinced that you are right.

Don't forget these basics :

  • Never be late for the appointment : In fact, it won't hurt if you are early. It will give you sufficient time to set up the presentation in the designated room.
  • Look presentable
  • Know your audience : find out who you will meet and if possible their background.
  • Always follow-up : send a thank you email and promptly send information you promised.

Frequent gaffes that entrepreneurs make - Avoid them
  • If I had been given more time, I would have been able to explain better and you would have understood how great our business is.
  • I am only presenting a conservative plan. We will actually have a lot of upside.

The five 'not to be said' sentences.

1. There is no competition

2. The VCs are guaranteed to make money

3. I already have other VCs begging to put money

4. We can build the product in 90 days

5. I will quit my job when you fund me

Good Luck. Happy Pitching

- Vani Kola

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