Davis: When Pitching VCs, Do Not Name Drop


SAI contributor Mark Davis is a venture capitalist at DFJ Gotham.  He writes Get Venture, a blog aimed at helping entrepreneurs trying to raise money from VCs. We’ve previously published Mark’s thoughts on the objective of the first meeting and the importance of knowing your competition and not looking like a bozo. 

The fact that name-dropping is a bad idea should go without saying, but some entrepreneurs have demonstrated the need for it to be said.

When you are presenting your business idea, do not rely on the opinions of big-name people to validate your plan. In other words, don’t expect to sell the merits of your idea simply based on the alleged opinion of a third party. Statements like “Bill Gates loves what I’m doing” are not very effective for a few reasons:

  1. It raises questions about why Bill isn’t backing you,
  2. It sounds like a petty attempt to cover up the weaknesses of your plan, and
  3. It’s tacky.

Having the support of industry experts is a relevant factor for VCs to know. However, instead of demonstrating this through a quote, get the Big Names to join your advisory board or invest in your company. Actions speak much louder than words.