As an angel investor, I get, on average, three to five pitches a week from companies looking for funding. Without question, 97% of these companies eliminate themselves from my consideration within their first two emails to me.
Over time, I’ve realized that the management teams of the companies in which I do invest all share certain characteristics. So, I present to you five traits every management team needs to have to be investment-ready.
1. Every Team Member Must Be On the Same Page
I want a management team that thinks independently and is able to bring different points of view to the management table. But when you’re pitching for funding, you all have to have the same talking points. You all must be on the same page as to your company, your company goals and your company vision. I will be talking to each team member separately, and if they’re not on the same page, I’m going to get some uneasy feelings.
2. Your Team Members’ Skills Must Be Complementary
When companies are just starting up, it’s usually a few friends who are very similar. One might be a coder and the other a marketer, but they share similar traits and skill sets. For a management team to succeed, each person has to own a specific skill that’s required for the company to function. If I get five guys all of whom are the visionaries, I’ve got a problem.
3. For the Love of All That Is Holy, Do Your Homework
If there are five of you on a management team, and you’re meeting with me for funding, then I expect that you’re going to know every single detail about me that I’ve ever made public by the time we meet. Why? Because it shows me you’re all willing to get your hands dirty.
I was once pitched by someone who had an improvement on the GoPro camera. He brought one to explain what a GoPro was. Seriously? The most basic of internet searches would have shown not only that I’m a skydiver who uses GoPro cameras every day, but that I was the first skydiver to actually jump with one. Seriously. Research and homework. Want my money? Then prove to me you’re serious.
4. Be Ready to Discuss Other Investors
I want you to be incredibly specific when it comes to who you’re talking to, other than me. I want to know why you’re talking to them. The thing about investment is that it’s not just about the money. It’s about the connections you’ll gain from working with that investor. I need to know that you know that, and that you’re ready to take full advantage of those connections, not only from me, but from everyone you approach.
In the end, I want to know that you’re doing everything possible to take advantage of every opportunity you’re being given, as well as working your ass off day in and day out to make the company a success.
5. Finally, Be Ready to Discuss Your Failures
I’ll never give money to someone who has never failed. If you’ve never failed, what have you ever learned? So be prepared, with a list of your top three failures, what you learned from them, and how you’ll apply those lessons to what you’re doing with this new venture. Essentially, I need to know that you’ve gained “screw-up experience” that you’ll utilize to make my investment a positive one.
Here’s a Bonus Tip
I know how important your startup is to you. I don’t need to be pitched on that. You, however, need to know how important my money is to me. If I’m giving it to you, I expect you to take care of it, raising and growing it like I was giving you my child. As you’re pitching me or any other investor, everything you say to me should reflect this understanding.
As I said in the beginning, these traits should be built into your company and be reflected across your entire management team. I’ll be looking for them from our very first interaction, and I’ll know by the second or third email whether or not we’re moving forward, based on how you did with the above list. Want investors? Be investable by following the tips above.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to land equity investors, read our article on why you should always be perfecting your pitch.