You are raising funds from venture capital investors and the meeting has come to an end. How did it go? Do you know? I’m sure you want to.
There is actually an easy way to tell, the VC will tell you. The problem is founders are delusional and can’t read the signs. You only want to hear yes and get back to work, after writing a Medium post of course.
We are going to run through the main variations of the things that investors will say to you at the end of the meeting. These fall into your change of raising from them being:
- Dead: They are passing. Do not count on them to lead your deal. There is a slight chance if you do get great investors on board, that they might too. Keep in touch but don’t hold your breath
- Maybe: The investor pitch went well and they think you are investible. However, there are things they aren’t sure about and you need to nail them the next chance you have. Listen to what they say and be sure to address those concerns
- Yes: You are kicking ass. You only need one yes so close this one, if you want them. Focus on these guys, be responsive, be friendly, make them love you. Do keep your options open though in case the deal falls through. Options get you better valuations too
These answers are not 100% definitive, so take them with a little pinch of salt. But… if you are hearing something in the no list then be judicious with your time and don’t count on these investors.
Ok, let’s do this!
Dead- they are not investing
Investor says: Let me review this with my partners
Investor means: I’m going to email you in a week with a pass and blame my partners so I save face. You don’t know them anyway. I’ll probably say I liked your company, but my partners didn’t
Investor says: Let me review this and get back to you
Investor means: I’m going to pass but I don’t want to say it to your face as you are going to ask more questions about why. I can avoid that in email. Now in some cases, they might actually mean it, so see if they do. Follow up a week later to be sure in case they forgot but have some level of interest
Investor says: You’re too early. Come back when you have more traction
Investor means: Stright pass, but I’m direct and don’t want to share the real reason. If they somehow pull magic out of the bag, I might be able to get in again
Investor says: Keep us in the loop and if you can show traction we will invest
Investor means: I’m passing but leaving them hope. They are going to tell everyone that they have investors waiting to invest if they get a lead. Suckers
Investor says: Thanks for coming in, do you have far to go?
Investor means: I’m passing and hopefully they get the sub-context implied which is a hard pass
Investor says: We are patient investors. Let’s stay in touch in case we can do your next round
Investor means: I talk crap and hopefully they buy it. If they do well, maybe I’ll look at the next round
Investor says: Thanks for coming in. If you get a lead investor, we will invest too
Investor means: I’m not interested but if they can get a top firm in on the deal, then maybe they know something we don’t
Maybe- they might invest… if you can address concerns they have
Investor says: I’m going to introduce you to a [founder at a portfolio / operating partner / EIR, etc] and get their take
Investor means: I’m on the edge of no here, but there might be something here and want to make sure I haven’t missed something. The basics are all here, you just didn’t impress me
Investor says: I need to understand [market, technology, competition etc] more. Can you send me [research]?
Investor means: I’m willing to put in a little bit of work. I’m not totally committed to the deal as there seems to be things I am not comfortable with yet.
Investor says: Can I talk to some of your customers?
Investor means: If this is your 3rd pitch it’s great. If it is after your first pitch then I haven’t invested before, I don’t respect you or your customers time, but I’m a little interested, though you shouldn’t be
Investor says: This is interesting but you need to work on your pitch. I’m happy to help coach you
Investor means: I’m not a decision maker (principal / venture partner etc) and I need to show deals. If I clean up these guys, we may not invest, but I’ll look like I’m active to my partner
Yes – the deal is there for you to lose
Investor says: Let’s organise a session with your co-founders
Investor means: Let’s organise a session with your co-founders so I can see what the rest of the team is like
Investor says: I want to have you meet one of my partners
Investor means: I want to have you meet one of my partners because at my firm we need to get buy-in from everyone and I’d like to know his opinion
Investor says: Let’s organise another meet and dig into your [product roadmap]. I’ll have Sharon book a time
Investor means: Let’s organise another meet so I can understand what I might be investing in more detail
Investor says: Are you free to meet up this week?
Investor means: I’m really interested, so lets get going on this before another investor gets the deal
Conclusion on investor pitch meanings
There we have it. Have investors said something to you that you don’t quite understand? Ask me in the comments.
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