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创业者做到这9条,就可以获得风投的青睐

Robert Ackerman. Jr. 2016年11月03日

成功进行推介并且真的获得风投公司投资是一项了不起的成就。虽然风险投资依然势头迅猛,但对创业者来说,机会并不多。

 

本周,鲍勃·阿克尔曼介绍了创业者要怎样打动风险投资家。阿克尔曼是Allegis创始人兼董事总经理,这是一家以网络科技公司为主的早期阶段风投公司。

成功进行推介并且真的获得风投公司投资是一项了不起的成就。虽然风险投资依然势头迅猛——今年第二季度它们的投资规模连续第10个季度超过100亿美元,但对创业者来说,机会并不多。在风投接触到的商业计划中,获得其资金支持的通常只有1%-2%。

完善推介书并和风投公司接触前,大家要花点儿时间来判断一下风险投资是否是正确的融资方案。风投通常会向一家初创公司注入数百万美元资金,并且期待获得数倍于此的收益——6-10倍是个很好的评判标准。如果你的初创公司并未真的瞄准一个巨大市场,也没有实力强大而且可靠的管理团队,那你就应该考虑其他资金来源。

如果你判断风投资金是你的菜,那就要战略性地对待这个过程。第一步是做功课——以其现有投资对象为依据,锁定有可能对你的初创公司感兴趣的风投。并不是所有的风投都适合所有的创业者。

有了这样的心理准备后,就可以依照下列九个步骤来着手并提高自己获得风投青睐的几率。

1. 向自己提出几个严肃的问题。你要进入的市场真的值得风投关注吗?初创公司在进入市场时都会遇到许多障碍,你的产品或服务有足够的差异性来跨越这些障碍吗?如果确实得到了风险投资,你或许就得把公司的控制权交给新的老板,也就是包括风投在内的董事会。你可以安然接受这一点吗?如果不行,风投融资或许就不是最佳途径。

2. 化无形为有形。开始推介前要尽量多做工作——设立自己的公司,建起网站,注册域名,做名片。如果可能的话,就制作出原型产品。这会让你处于较有利的位置,能以较高的估值来筹集资金,特别是在有了原型产品的情况下,那要好于你只有个想法。

3. 揣摩他们的心思。有些信息风投一定想知道。要准备好应付所有初创公司都会面临的三种风险,那就是市场、产品和执行。他们还希望了解消费者偏好。最后,要确保你可以解决自身产品或服务的技术可靠性问题。

4. 研究一下你应该去找哪些风投公司。大多数风投都喜欢投资某些类型的公司。要确保自己的公司具有这些特征。随后,了解一下各家风投在创业者中的口碑。如果可以的话,就和曾经获得某些风投支持的创业者取得联系,问问他们是否愿意再次跟这些风投合作。如果他们不愿意,那就找出其中的原因(一段合作的不愉快结局可以提供很多信息)。还要问问情况变得艰难时风投有何反应。所有这些都会帮你判断这些风投能否真的“带来增值”并注入资金。

回答了所有这些问题后,对你的目标名单进行修正,以锁定最佳“潜在意中人”。向不合适的风投推广你的计划既浪费你的时间,也浪费他们的。

5. 知道自己的独特之处在哪里。要让自己成为推介会上的专家,这很重要。确保自己简短的“电梯推介”质量上乘。安排好推介活动的时间——推介本身占30分钟,产品或服务展示占10分钟,再用20分钟来回答问题和接受反馈。要预先考虑到那些尖锐问题,比如,为什么要出现你们这样的公司?为什么是你来做?为什么要在这个时候做?你有哪些独特之处?

6. “有预热的”推介。风投都希望创业者通过他们的社交圈子来进行引荐。这表明你了解风投的运作方式,也知道怎样去争取。它还会让风投知道,有人愿意支持你。冷不防打来的电话会被放在队尾,而且永远也不会真的得到评估。

7. 尽可能多地跟合适的风投公司接触并锁定恰当的合作伙伴。成功的融资主要在于坚持。实际上,它非常像人们为了寻找灵魂伴侣而约会。不要只是锁定一家公司,要以该公司里的“恰当”合伙人为目标,他最有可能对你的推介做出反应。每个合伙人的投资兴趣都不一样(大家通常可以在他们的在线简历中看到相关内容)。要锁定最有可能对你的公司感兴趣的那个人。

8. 在推介会上表现自然。要抑制住冲动,别去戴不说废话的专业面具。相反,要表现自然,做自己就好。风投不光向人们的点子投资,也向人投资。投资人都非常善于捕捉装腔作势的行为。表现自然很重要。

9. 记住要做什么和不要做什么。要展示一下自己会怎样应对竞争。要对自己的数字了然于胸。要展现出热情和说服力。要在大胆和可信之间求得平衡。要聆听和交流。要坦诚自己面临的竞争以及可能出现的挑战(并且知道如何解决这两个问题)。不要含糊不清。不要夸大其词。不要借名人来抬高自己。不要喋喋不休。

最后,你的目标很简单,那就是拿到第二次会面的机会。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:詹妮

This week, Bob Ackerman explains how entrepreneurs can impress venture capitalists. Ackerman is the founder and managing director of Allegis, an early-stage venture firm that focuses on cybertechnology companies.

Pulling off a successful pitch and actually getting an investment from a venture capital firm is a huge feat. While the pace of venture capital investing remains strong — the second quarter of 2016 marked the 10th consecutive quarter in which VCs invested more than $10 billion — as an entrepreneur, the odds are stacked against you. VCs typically finance only one or two percent of the business plans they see.

Before you begin perfecting your pitch and approaching VC firms, take a moment to determine whether venture capital is the right funding option.VCs typically deploy millions of dollars in a startup and are looking to make several times their investment: 6X to 10X is a good rule of thumb. If your startup doesn’t truly target a huge market with a strong and credible management team, you should consider other sources of funding.

If you decide VC funding is for you, be strategic about the process. Start by doing your homework — target venture firms that are likely to be interested in your startup, based on their existing portfolio. Not every venture firm is right for every entrepreneur.

With that in mind, here are nine steps to get you started and improve your odds for getting a VC to bite.

1. Ask yourself the serious questions. Does the market you’re addressing really warrant attention from a VC? Startups always face lots of barriers to entry; is your product or service differentiated enough to overcomethese obstacles? If you do raise venture funds, you willlikely have to surrender control of your company to your new boss – i.e., your Board, which will now include VCs. Are you comfortable with that? If not, venture capital funding may not be the best route.

2. Make the intangible, tangible. Do as much as you can before showing up to a pitch: incorporate your company, set up your website and domain name, create business cards and, if possible, create a product prototype. This puts you in a better position to raise capital at a higher valuation, particularly if you have a prototype, than if you simply come with an idea.

3. Read their minds. There are certain pieces of information VCs will always want to know. Be ready to address the three types of risk all startups face: market, product and execution. They’ll also want to seecustomer references. Finally, make sure you canaddress the technical credibility of your product or service.

4. Research which venture firms you should approach.Most have certain types of companies they like to invest in; make sure your company fits within those parameters. After that, research each firm’s reputation among entrepreneurs. If you can, contact entrepreneurs the VCs have previously funded, and ask if they’d work with the firm again. If not, find out why not (a sour ending to a relationship can say a lot). Also ask how the firm responded when things got tough. All of this will help you determine whether the VC firmcan truly “add value,” as well as inject money.

Once you’ve answered all these questions, refine your target list to the best “potential fits”. Broadcasting your plans to venture firms who are not a fit is waste or your time and theirs.

5. Know what makes you unique. It’s important that you present yourself as the expert in the room. Make sure your brief “elevator pitch” is top-notch. Time yourpresentation: 30 minutes for the presentation itself, 10 minutes for a demonstration of your product or service, and 20 minutes to accommodate questions and feedback. Anticipate tough questions. Why does your business need to exist? Why you? Why now? What makes you unique?

6. Get a “warm’ introduction. VCs expect founders to use their social networks to get an introduction at the firm. It demonstrates you know how venture capitalworks and that you know how to hustle. It also showsus someone we know is willing to go to bat for you. Cold calls go to the bottom of the pile and are never really evaluated.

7. Meet with as many suitable VC firms as possible and target the right partner. Successful fundraising is largely about persistence. In fact, it’s a lot like dating in quest of a soul mate. Don’t just target a firm, target the “right” partner within the firm that will most likelyrespond to your pitch. Every partner has different investment interests (which you can usually find in their online bios). Target the one most likely to be interested in your company.

8. Be yourself in the meeting. Resist the urge to don a mask of no-nonsense professionalism. Instead, act natural and be yourself. VCs invest not only in ideas, but in people, too. Investors are adept at spotting superficiality. It’s important to be yourself.

9. Remember the dos and don’ts. Do demonstrate how you can counter the competition. Do know your numbers cold. Do overflow with passion and conviction. Do balance boldness with believability. Dolisten and engage. Do be honest about your competition and likely challenges (and know how you will overcome both). Don’t be vague. Don’t exaggerate.Don’t name-drop. Don’t talk too much.

In the end, your goal is simple: Land a second meeting. Good luck.

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