Andy Rachleff co-founder of Benchmark Capital
When a great team meets a lousy market, market wins.
When a lousy team meets a great market, market wins.
When a great team that meets a great market, and something special happens.
Wright Steenrod, a partner at Chrysalis Ventures
"When someone gives you venture capital, it's like someone handing you a grenade with the pin pulled. If you know what to do with it, it can be very useful, if you don't know what to do with it, it can blow up in your face," said.
Lisa Nelson, managing director of Microsoft Ventures
I always remind people: Be prepared and be focused. I had a call this morning with a founder who didn't know their 2017 revenues. You want money from me, but you don't even have the details about your own business? I have that happen a lot where the founder doesn't even know the details. Know what you are going to the meeting for. Why go spend an hour in a meeting when it's just not the right fit? [And] ask for feedback verbally—not on email.
Amy McCullough, partner at Trilogy Equity Partners
I think for all entrepreneurs looking to raise money, be very thoughtful of who you're going to partner with. It's a long journey. You're taking other people's money, and there are a lot of ups and downs with that. In this environment, where there is a lot of capital sloshing around, be picky about who you want your partner to be.
Sarah Imbach, angel investor
Make sure your idea is big enough if you're trying to raise money. It's very easy to carve your idea down to appeal to various advice that you get. If your idea is not big enough, you've got to maintain that big vision. The best way you know if your idea is big enough is if when you imagine it fully realized, the world looks different. If your idea doesn't change the world on some fundamental level, then you're probably not thinking big enough to go after venture.
Corey Schmid, investing partner at Seven Peaks Ventures
Have a strategy. You have got to be laser-focused with that roadmap ahead of you. Do your research. ... You have to get used to hearing "no." You're going to hear "no" a lot. Ask for feedback. Ask why. Hopefully, you get a VC or an angel that will be willing to give you really good honest feedback.
Heather Redman, co-founder and managing partner of Flying Fish VC
When I see an entrepreneur who's already quit their job and throwing caution to the wind, and they've also attracted a team whose similarly doing that, [they've sold] the vision enough to attract [their] family, [their] team ... you've suddenly demonstrated to me that you've got the ability to sell and you've got practice selling your idea. When you come to me, you'll already have proof of your ability to convince the world to follow you.
Gillian Muessig, CEO of Outlines Venture Group and co-founder of Moz
My advice would be to know your investor before you pitch. Not every investor invests in all spaces. if you're pitching your consumer product to the IoT guys, it's probably not close enough. You need to know who it is. Otherwise, you're wasting people's time. You can certainly give them your elevator pitch and ask them to refer somebody who does invest in your space, but, truly, that is what LinkedIn is for. If you piss off the people who have the capital, they talk to each other, and they won't refer you. Be concise, be laser-sharp, and know who you are pitching.
Judy Loehr, former venture partner at Cloud Apps Capital Partners
If you don't need venture, run the other way. There's a difference between needing capital and needing venture. If you aren't in a big enough market for venture, save your time. ... I see a lot of founders wasting time chasing venture.