Being in the VC game now and not a start-up CEO, I am asked to speak at events frequently. If you have seen me speak you will know that I have two really big pet peeves.
(1) No, I don’t want to see your demo. I really want to know:
- Who you are?
- Why you decided to dedicate your life to this crazy new venture?
- Who else is involved?
- How much money have you raised, and how much more do you need?
- How big can this be?
ONCE I have answers to that and understand what you are all about, then I might want to see the demo.
I don’t understand how the eco-system has gone to this approach of: “I don’t need slides, I can just do a demo, because the product is all that matters.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Early stage investing is all about the people and big markets.
(2) Related: Please don’t tell me that raising money is a waste of time.
I hear variants of the following all the time:
“I need to get back to the office to work on new product features.”
“Raising money is slowing the down the business and its a waste of my time”
“Raising money is taking my eye off the ball”
You are the CEO and therefore one of the most important parts of your job is ensuring that the company has enough runway to not go bust. That is just as important as any other task you have. If you don’t feel that way, then perhaps you should be the VP of Product and a CEO who cares about this should be raising the money?
Please recognize, I am not insulted by the fact that you thinking raising money is a waste of your time – i.e. that my ego is bruised and you don’t respect me or my profession. I don’t care about that. But what I do care about, going back to point (1) is that you have identified yourself as a person that is perhaps not in this for the right reasons!