Geez so many are bonkers and not in a good way. Like all angel investors, I get a lot of inbound deals. I don’t automatically discard them though. Some of my best deals have been inbound. Yes, its true.
However, my focus is tight. I am a consumer investor (marketplaces, some ecomm) and when I do B2B its ecomm enablement — tools that make ecommerce work dramatically better. That’s tight. I don’t do health. I don’t do edtech. I don’t do fintech. I don’t do crypto (at least not now). I don’t do hardware. As I always say my GPs are me, myself and I. To be effective, Quixotic Ventures needs a tight focus. It’s worked. If you doubt that, check out my record here.
Today I was catching up on all the inbounds in my LinkedIn mailbox. There are some real eye-rollers:
- “I designed a prototype I want to show you.” Huh? What kind of protype?
- “…telemedicine scheduling.” No. I don’t do healthcare. Not a single investment.
- “…a tool for educators.” No. I don’t do education.
- “…film financing.” Geez. It’s not even tech.
- “…a crypto coin.” Another one? Why?
- “XYZ is a reusable rock splitter.” I actually read that one out of curiosity. I guarantee you the word “rock” hasn’t appeared in my LinkedIn profile or posts, nor in my blog. But believe it or not, I collect rocks. Yes. Minerals. Ask me about my collection 🙂 But this deal is a big “no” because I don’t do hardware hahahah.
- “I am a startup enthusiast and want to discuss an idea for funding.” Wow that really peaks my interest. Does it get you too? Come on, please be a little more specific.
- “…new platform for sports viewing.” I don’t do sports and entertainment but the pitch note was well written and articulated why this might breakthrough. Nevertheless a no.
- “XYZ is a rental marketplace platform” OK at least that’s roughly in my focus area. Its a marketplace targeted at consumers.
- “I only need five minutes of your time as I have designed a prototype.” Again, what?!
- “Large-scale industrial farming…” Uh no.
- “AI for Advanced Automation…” No off the bat. The note does absolutely nothing to make this real with real world examples. Two buzzwords as the value prop is a buzz killer.
- “XYZ eliminates landfills.” Maybe because I posted about the circular economy?
- “You can bet on dueling pianos.” Hmmm.
These pitches range from decent to ridiculous. Almost all fail and some are totally ridiculous. I have raised money before and I know the temptation is to blindly write as many investors as possible but that’s exactly the wrong way to do it. You can write a long list if you must, but at least do your research. It makes your pitch more compelling. For the eye-rollers, I don’t know what to say. Here are 5 things you MUST do if you’re serious about raising money and not just promoting some wild scheme:
- Look at the VC’s profile and mention quickly why this company fits with the VC’s investing profile.
- Describe your company/product in a way that’s understandable. Buzzwords are a buzzkill.
- Briefly talk about what consumer problem your product solves, why its massively better than existing competition, or why if in a new entry in a category it’ll organize the market and be a big company. Mention the market for context.
- Attach a deck or at minimum a summary and ask for a conversation at the VCs convenience.
- OMG do not ask for a non-compete.