Thinking of participating in our Investor Hangouts or otherwise pitching a VC remotely? Here's what one investor who's taken part says you should consider beforehand.
By Pearl Chan (Associate, Omidyar Network)
When I first offered the opportunity to participate in Investor Hangouts, two thoughts immediately popped into my mind: (1) what a great way to cultivate the entrepreneurial ecosystem for women by providing the opportunity for real feedback at an early stage; and, (2) genuine excitement at the chance to hear about all of the great companies women were brainstorming and building. I immediately jumped at the chance.
First and foremost, I want to commend Stephanie (co-founder, Dooozy) and Anjani (co-founder, Spot Commerce) for being wonderful participants and bringing thoughtfulness and insightfulness to their presentations, as well as all-around great ideas. Compared to other pitch events in which I have engaged, I found great value in the intimate, one-on-one environment, and Lauren (events coordinator, Women 2.0) was exceptional in cultivating a personal experience.
As I reflected on my investor hangout, a few guidelines – or ABCs – came to mind that I thought might be useful for future participants:
Address the Main Questions
Seven minutes is hardly enough time for an entrepreneur to articulate what they have been working on for months or even years. To form a better investment thesis and gain a better understanding of the startup, there are a few areas that I always seek to address. (Of course, there are many, many more questions but answering these is a great start).
- What was the motivation for the entrepreneur to start the business?
- What is the pain point the business is addressing?
- What is the TAM?
- How is this different from the competitors or solutions out there?
- Who is the team (if applicable)?
Bring Your Best Self
After the hangout, I still remembered the enthusiasm and passion both entrepreneurs brought to their pitches. The entrepreneurs sounded knowledgeable, confident, and grounded, and had made sure to look up the investor backgrounds to understand their expertise and focus. I found this exceptionally valuable as I engaged with each entrepreneur. Additionally, Stephanie (co-founder, Dooozy) consistently showed energy and excitement as she pitched. When entrepreneurs bring their best self forward to these pitches, it definitely comes across on the other side.
Catch Up Afterwards
Given the short amount of time during the pitch, it is impossible to address all issues and answer all questions. Both entrepreneurs did a great job of reaching out afterwards and asking for feedback, a follow-up call, or any helpful connections. Although I was not able to help out on all fronts, I am definitely keeping them in the back of my mind, as I continue to see other opportunities or meet similar business models. Sometimes it is tough for people to put themselves out there and ask for help, but I believe it is exceptionally valuable and have seen entrepreneurs do it again and again. Do not hesitate to reach out to the investors.
Although these two companies are very early stage, I am looking forward to hearing about all the wonderful updates to come from these two exceptional women. As an investor, my primary job is to be in service to the entrepreneurs who are working towards building amazing companies. I am looking to forward to continuing to see women-led startups changing the world!
“Never doubt that that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Get pitch feedback from Pearl this Friday, 10/18, 9-11 a.m. PDT during our next Investor Hangouts session. Register here
before the deadline, TONIGHT at 5 p.m. PDT! DEADLINE EXTENDED TILL 3 p.m. PDT TODAY!
About the guest blogger: Pearl Chan is an Investment Associate at Omidyar Network where she invests in consumer, internet, and mobile, financial services, and education startups. Pearl previously worked at a private equity investment fund and at a social enterprise (based in Kenya).