I love this question for both the founder who gets clarity and the investor who needs to give feedback 🙌🏼
— Jenny Fielding (@jefielding) October 17, 2023
So one of the parts I like least about investing is the follow-up. Specifically, the follow-up when I’m not sure.
A few times a year, I’ll meet founders and a company I believe in so much, I’ll clearly offer to invest at the first meeting. Usually, I’ll say something like this: “If everything I’ve learned is accurate, there’s a 90%+ chance I’d want to invest if you want me.”
Those meetings are the easy ones.
But now that 99% of first meetings are on Zoom, mostly they end in a state of Hmmm. I’ve often reviewed the deck ahead of time, and learned some good things, and some things that are maybe less good. And there’s interest, but it’s not clear.
And everyone leaves the meeting … not really knowing. It’s a wasted moment.
I have one suggestion: don’t end any VC meeting without asking one question: “Based on What You Know at the Moment, What Are the Odds You’d Invest?”
If you ask right then, and for the odds — not a Yes/No decision — usually you’ll get a very accurate answer.
If the odds are low, realize it’s probably a No unless you make a few months more progress or metrics improve, or something changes. If you hear high odds, that generally means interest is pretty darn real. Because VCs take a lot of meetings.
I personally try to be as specific on the percentages as I can now. But I don’t always end each meeting sharing it. So ask.
And you know who else asks at the end of every meeting? Sales execs. Especially after a first meeting — they just want to know. And raising VC capital is sales. It’s selling stock.
(Odds image from here)
And a few other great questions to ask here: