Saturday, January 16, 2016
Why we need to Rethink Investor Recognition
I deal with startups from across the country but mostly from the tech centers, Austin, San Francisco, New York, and increasingly Chicago, and Atlanta. I can tell almost immediately if the startup is coming from the Bay Area because they are head and shoulders above all others in how they treat the investor.
They thank the investor for the time they are spending. They show respect for the investors background (and most often have actually looked it up and found some talking points to start off the conversation). They show gratitude for the "insight and helpful advice" the investor is giving them. As an investor, I know this is somewhat fawning and it can be overdone, but the fact that they are taking time to research before the meeting, and showing a modicum of respect for the investors time and advice sets a better tone for the discussion.
Outside of the Bay Area, most entrepreneurs come to pitch their deal and get a response--nothing more. They treat the investor and the entrepreneur as equals and while most say thank you for taking time at the beginning of the meeting, that's about it. There's no tone set for the discussions -- this will be another conversation with just another investor -- no big deal.
On your next pitch, research the investor you are going to meet and take an extra step to thank him for his advice and show how it means something to you. You're not just raising funding, you're building a relationship.