Phin Barnes recalls how, when his VC firm First Round Capital was deciding whether to back the meal-kit delivery service Blue Apron, founder Matt Salzberg’s eyes lit up as he nerded out on logistics details. When Greycroft Partners led a $30 million round for Thrive Market, an online wholesale-buying club for health-focused food, investor Dana Settle said that besides the company’s great metrics, the two co-founders’ completely different and complementary skill sets sealed the deal. While there’s no formula to make a memorable impression on investors, there are rules of thumb. Below, three VCs note the best pitches they’ve ever received and what you can learn from them.
Don’t Pitch Until You Know You’ll Nail It
There’s nothing more powerful than waiting to pitch until it’s obvious your startup is killing it. That’s how Talkdesk, a San Francisco-based company that makes cloud-based call-center technology, landed $12 million from Silicon Valley VC firm DFJ Venture. “At the end of the day, VCs make decisions on very little data, so the more data you can provide, the more you bring them into your business and the more trust you build,” says COO Gadi Shamia.When Talkdesk pitched DFJ partner Josh Stein, the company had crossed the $4 million revenue run rate and had generated $1 million in net cash in the previous six months. “They kept it very lean, raised a very little bit of money, and spent it very carefully,” Stein says. “They waited until they had sort of cracked the code on the product, and until the metrics were brain-dead obvious. That’s when investors will be begging you to take their money, instead of the other way around.”