Fundraising: Don’t Waste Time Convincing Skeptics

Find investors who share your “gospel” and understand what you’re doing.

Ok, full disclosure, the headline is a smart quote from my fund partner, Oksana Malysheva, and, yeah, it is freakin’ brilliant.

Far too often, founders spend inordinate time talking to angels and VCs trying to convince them of their vision, commitment and results. The reality is, a good company, getting good traction, MUST find investors who share their “gospel” and understand what they’re doing. The phrase, “missionaries, not mercenaries,” applies just as equally to early-stage investors as employees.

I just spoke with one of our companies. They have a $600k sales backlog that they’ll complete this month, and about 50% or more of that will be recurring revenue. The product is a complex AI service in an industry vertical that is large and growing fast.

They had a call with an investor who basically questioned their revenue numbers because it seemed to him that they were just too high. How could a company only six months old have $600k in revenue this month? Didn’t make sense to him that the industry vertical had revenue anywhere near their forecast. In short, he didn’t know their industry economics, and instead of jumping at the opportunity to get in early with a VC backed company showing strong sales growth (epic growth, quite frankly), he sits like a stick in the mud.

What was Oksana’s response? “Don’t waste time convincing skeptics.” Truth.

Many angels and VCs will not share your vision. You will not convince them otherwise. There are literally thousands of people who fund companies. If you’re raising money, shift your efforts from convincing those who don’t get it, to those who do. You’re time is as valuable as the VC’s time, even if it doesn’t seem that way from how they treat you.

In fact, it could be argued that time is more valuable than money, especially at an early stage. Don’t waste that precious asset on a road to nowhere. If a prospective investor doesn’t get it, cut bait and move on fast. Politely let them know that it doesn’t look like a good fit, and move on.

Author: Joe Merrill

I'm a VC in Austin, TX.

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