Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Shopping for Venture Money

Martin Tobias of Ignition Partners and founder of Loudeye has a nice piece on NW Venture Voice about how to go about raising venture money. There are also some good thoughts on how to make money decisions in general during the early stages of a venture.

Allen Morgan at Mayfield has a nice series up on his blog entitled the Ten Commandments for Entrepreneurs -- his ideas of the 10 most important "procedural" things to keep in mind when you approach a VC. Some of these are pretty obvious but good reminders nonetheless. He startsby making the point that you absolutely do make sure you obey the three “Uber Commandments” (see post on Commandment #1) and tell why: (1) you have a great technology idea, (2) being implemented by a great team, and (3) attacking a huge market in the midst of a transition.

His first point is
whenever you're approaching a VC firm for funding, it's always optimal (surprise!) to connect with the partner in the firm who has the closest investment interest to the space your startup is going after. Commandment #2 is Be on Time. Commandment #3 is Tease, Don't Overwhelm -- the key is to pique interest in order to get meeting #2. Commandment #4 is to Know Your Audience. There are some useful comments from the entrepreneur's perspective on Commandment #4 -- things to be careful of and some suggested commandments for VCs. Commandment #5 is Create the "Aha" Early -- i.e., get to the point quickly and you are more likely to have a rich conversation with the VCs that engages them much more than droning through PowerPoint slides. Commandment #6 is Explain Your New Idea by Analogy To, or Contrast with, Old Ideas. I'll confess, I'm an "analogy man" as I believe it's the best way to simplify what may be a complex business to explain. It gives the audience a frame in which digest the rest of what they'll hear.

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