On Tuesday, March 3rd, GT hosted a highly interactive roundtable meeting of entrepreneurs and investors in its Boston office. About 25 companies from a range of industries, including medical device, healthcare IT, ed tech, life science, mobile tech, fashion, music, film and more, were able to meet with 5 venture capital and angel investors.
GT was fortunate to moderate the panel that solicited insight from the investors on “How to Meet Investors, Pitch Them (What You Should and Should Not Say!), and What It Really Takes to Get Them to Write You a Check!” Panelists included Ross Leav of Presidio Ventures, David Goldberg of Corigin Ventures, Chip Hazard of Flybridge Partners, Douglas Roth of Connecticut Innovations, and Stephen Silver of FP Angels. After the panel discussion and Q&A, many of the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to share their elevator pitches with the investors and gain valuable feedback. Here are some of the takeaways:
- Do your homework. Research the investors you are contacting. Make sure you are pitching to an investor that is interested in your industry focus, stage of company and geographical region.
- References are critical. If you have a term sheet from an investor, call their references to learn what it is like to have that investor as part of your company. Call both successful companies and ones where things did not work out well. Once the investor is on board, they are part of your company and you can’t get rid of them, so make sure you know what you are getting into.
- Put your best foot forward in first meeting. Every company has some hurdles that they need to overcome. In general, it is best to save the negatives and the challenges for the second meeting.
- There is always competition. If there is no competition, it might mean that there is no market for your products or services.
- Protecting your intellectual property is important, but market traction is critical. Thus, from an investor’s standpoint, it is not enough to have patents (where relevant), but you must also have customers or a good plan to acquire customers.
- It’s not all about the product. When giving an elevator pitch, don’t speak only about the product. Make sure you mention your team, the milestones you have achieved, and include any other information that will establish your credibility.