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FAQs | Funding

Networking with VCs

Q: What’s the best way to get an appointment with a Venture Capitalist (VC)?

  • In real estate it is location, location, location. In VC funding, it is persistence, persistence, persistence which is closely followed by referral, referral, referral. [Mark Modica,]
  • We sent out a lot of plans in the first round and followed up with phone calls. Rarely did that work in getting a meeting. Instead, it was through our contacts who knew partners at the VC firms. We also found it beneficial to go to events where we would have the opportunity to meet VC's and introduce ourselves and the company in person. Several of those conversations resulted in meetings.

    The second time around, we sent out far fewer plans and concentrated on working the network. It was a much smoother process (and less painful as there were fewer people to ignore us!).

    We also presented at one venture conference during the first round and two conferences during the second. Two of the three were somewhat valuable, the third -- the MAVA conference -- was extremely valuable. There were many opportunities to network with investors -- many of whom are not necessarily interested in investing in your company but who may pass your name along to others if you make a good impression.

    The bottom line is that it's the personal networking that makes the difference. Sending plans and making cold calls takes up too much valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. [Susan DeFife,]

  • You should get to know the VCs before you need them. In my opinion, the best approach is to have someone introduce you, that way they can say something nice about you beforehand.

    Another good way to meet VCs is through volunteer work. Join a committee, like the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Or volunteer to do registration at a Netpreneur or other event.

    Finally, if you have to "cold-call" the VCs, do your homework first. Find out what their last three investments have been and why they chose them. That way, when you call you can say something that is important to him/her. They are very busy people and you will probably have less than two minutes to catch their attention. [Anne Crossman,]


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