How To Get VCs Eating Out Of The Palm Of Your Hand

In a prior post I wrote about How The Best VCs Interact With Entrepreneurs.  I am now turning the tables and offering some thoughts about the best practices for entrepreneurs.

While the following list is not complete, perfect or without exception, these 10 rules should serve as strong guidelines for entrepreneurs who want to create enduring relationships with VCs.

Top 10 Ways The Best Entrepreneurs Interact With VCs

1.    Only contact VCs that invest in your type of company (e.g., sector, stage, etc.)
2.    Be honest about your intentions
3.    Be patient with VCs
4.    Actively share information
5.    Do not take rejection personally 
6.    Do not harass VCs (they’re people too)
7.    Focus on the success of the company; check your ego at the door
8.    Be open to feedback and new ideas
9.    Do not sully the reputation of a VC simply because you did not like their decision
10.    Build relationships with VCs
Additional colour about these guidelines:

  1. Only contact VCs that invest in your type of company (e.g., sector, stage, etc.): Living by this rule will save you time and prevent you from looking clueless. Related Post: Types Of Risks VCs Take
  2. Be honest about your intentions: I’m a firm believer that the best approach to business is the honest one. Be up front with your potential investors about your expectations, needs and level of interest in them. Related Post: Give Straight Talk
  3. Be patient with VCs: VCs are extremely busy and therefore your patience with them is appreciated. No, this isn’t a cry for pity – it’s just the nature of the job. While a busy schedule isn’t an excuse (in my opinion) for not responding to appropriate emails, it does suggest that a bit more patience than average is warranted. Related Post: Why VCs Might Be Slow To Respond
  4. Actively share information: It is important to maintain momentum with investors to keep them interested. In order to do this you should openly provide information about your company and respond quickly to requests. Related Posts: Why You Should Facilitate Due Diligence, Creating Momentum
  5. Do not take rejection personally: There are a lot of reasons why you might not receive funding from a VC – some of which are entirely unrelated to your company. As a result, you shouldn’t take it personally. Don’t let a rejection affect your ego. Related Posts: Why You Might Not Get The Meeting, Another Reason You May Be Rejected: Portfolio Concentration
  6. Do not harass VCs (they’re people too): Enough said. Related Post: If You Can’t Create Interest Move On
  7. Focus on the success of the company; check your ego at the door: This point should work both ways; both VCs and entrepreneurs should focus on making decisions that maximise shareholder value. Related Post: Check Your Ego
  8. Be open to feedback and new ideas: Enough said. Related Posts: Hear Feedback, Evolve
  9. Do not sully the reputation of a VC simply because you did not like their decision: Bad karma has a way of making its way back to its creator. It’s a small world and VCs talk to each other. Seeking undue vengeance can create challenges for entrepreneurs in their current and future fundraising efforts.
  10. Build relationships with VCs: It seems to me that the greatest entrepreneurs are capable of getting past the business side of the relationship with a VC, engaging them on a more personal level. Developing a personal relationship with a VC can make the fundraising process both significantly easier and more enjoyable. Related Post: Build Rapport

Mark Davis is a venture capitalist at DFJ Gotham Ventures and the author of Get Venture, a blog on how to raise venture capital and other industry topics.

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