The Art of Meeting… Me
Entrepreneurs email me all the time requesting a meeting. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, it’s my job to meet entrepreneurs. Except that lately more and more are requesting these meetings while insisting not to share any information prior. And that is a problem.
There are two main variations to these emails… Either ‘I just need 10 minutes of your time,’ or ‘I could send you materials but they don’t really explain the true story of what we’re doing’.
So first off, there’s no such thing as a 10-minute meeting with me. It’s not like we’re going to meet and I’ll say ‘Your idea sucks. Buh-bye!’. Doesn’t work like that with me.
If I meet you, we’re going to spend anywhere between 60-90 minutes. If I like the idea I’m going to ask a bunch of questions and raise concerns. If I’m not too hot about your idea we’re going to spend the length our meeting brainstorming on how to tweak its weaknesses, whether its business model, UX, or go-to-market strategy. I’ll also rack my brain thinking who I can intro you to.
Point is, it’s not going to be a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of meeting.
Second, if your venture isn’t simple enough to be summarized in a single sentence, let alone a paragraph, let alone a 10-slide presentation, how exactly do you intend to market it? This is a point that seems to allude many entrepreneurs.
And please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t send an Executive Summary. I have never-ever-ever read an ES that I actually understood. They’re the worst.
I can only speak for myself, but I’m guessing most other investors would also appreciate it if you just send over a 10-slide presentation. All it needs to be is clear and concise.
And here’s another tip… It should be aesthetically conscious. Products and services are all about design and UX these days. Don’t use clipart or worn out stock images. Think about type choice and the dollar sign goes **infront** of the number, ie, $100, not 100$.
I begin assessing your sensitivity to aesthetics from the first communiqué. Emailing me in any other language than English doesn’t make the best first impression either by the way.
Now you also have to appreciate that I sadly can’t meet everyone. Time management is the biggest challenge I have these days. I have to balance multiple inboxes, a portfolio, meetings and occasionally a personal life. This means that I require information in advance so I can filter ventures that don’t fit Initial Capital’s investment focus, or my domain expertise.
That said, it’s not all that difficult setting-up a meeting with me (honest). Here are the two best ways to make that happen:
First, by way of introduction to someone that knows me well. I trust my friends and colleagues and if one of them thinks I should meet an entrepreneur, the distance to a meeting is very short.
Second, if you cold-email me, there’s no reason to be less than direct about your objectives. Just get some basic info infront of me and let me pop open your presentation.
Here’s the perfect wording for cold-emailing me:
My name is Mojo Rising. I’m looking for funding for my startup—MojoCorp. We provide a service for small businesses that allows them to up their mojo to 11. We’ll make money by charging them a monthly service.
I’ve attached a 10-slide presentation which should paint a good picture of what we’re up to. I’d be glad to answer any questions you may have.
Thanks in advance,
Feel free to copy/paste. No, I insist you copy/paste it. Couldn’t be easier.
Looking forward to your investment decks at: firstname.lastname@example.org