Fortunately, or unfortunately, requests for potential investor meetings with founders come in many flavors:
- Can I just have 15 minutes to tell you about my world-changing idea?
- My company is doing OK/well/making progress, I just want to update you on our status.
- I've hit all my stretch targets for profitable customer acquisition and want you to invest in me.
So, if you were a VC, which meeting would you most be interested in taking? If you said the last one, you'd be correct. It's not that I don't take some of the other meetings, but I really like to see a well developed plan with successful execution, rather than a work-in-process.
You might find this curious coming from someone who does a lot of early stage investing. Not really. A lot depends on how you pitch yourself to me and the first two pitches are pretty underwhelming. If I get such a request, I usually turn down the first attempt, saying that you have given me no real reason to meet with you. I'm looking to see if the entrepreneur has the fortitude to keep trying. Often, they just quit and I never hear from them again. Too bad, since I did express interest.
Another faux paux with VC's is having an intermediary approach me. I don't deal with 'consultants' hired to raise money for a company. If a founders does not have the time to approach me directly, I don't have the time to deal with a consultant who wants me to sign NDAs and other stuff. I'd be out of business quickly if I signed NDAs around Mobile Resource Management technology, for example. Also, don't have your Business Development director, or some other staff person, try and get a meeting with me initially. I want to speak with the principals.
It's perfectly OK to have a chat with VC's you met before, might have passed on the first round, but said they were interested when you had sufficient market traction. Just don't waste their time with meetings that don't meet their stated expectations from your earlier discussions.
VCs are generally really nice people who will try and help you if you make sure that any meeting 'ask' is valid and that the VC will get a useful update.