Win Over The VC's Children, Win Over The VC

romotiveRomo, the iPhone robot

Photo: Kane Hsieh

When Romotive launched at TechStars Seattle’s Demo Day last year, it had no funding.Romotive turns smart phones into robots.

Six months later, it closed a $1.5 million round — more than any other TechStars Seattle startup in its class. Zappos founder Tony Hsieh invested alongside TechStars executives David Cohen and David Tisch, Lerer Ventures, Microsoft executives and a Nokia executive.

Romotive lured investors with its innovative product. It also used an innovative tactic: win over the VC’s children.

The first investor who met with Romotive brought his 9-year-old son.  Upon arriving, the boy was given a Romo iPad robot to entertain him.  Romo was placed outside the room and the boy had to navigate it through the closed door using only the iPad’s camera.  The investor told Romotive, “Guys, you could have been speaking Klingon to me.  When I see my own son so wrapped up in something how can I not invest?”

Every meeting after that, Romotive asked investors to bring their children. All of them were won over the same way the first VC had been.

“We went 12 for 12,” Romotive CEO Keller Rinaudo says.  “Every conversation we had ended in the person choosing to invest.”

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