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September 2020

VC Minute: Building Relationships Before You Raise

By Startups

The VC Minute is my segment on the Startup of the Year podcast where I share a quick snippet of advice related to startup fundraising.

Let’s talk about building relationships before you raise. 

There’s a famous startup maxim, Lines not dots. Mark Suster wrote this on his blog in November 2010. That’s nearly 10 years ago, and it’s as true today as it was then. 

When you and I meet, I have one data point. A dot. The next time we meet and I get an update, I have two dots and I can now draw a line. Mark’s blog post, which we’ll link in the show notes, plots this on a simple graph with performance over time. The more dots, the more confident I feel in the direction of the line. 

As you meet potential investors, your goal with the first meeting isn’t to close the deal, it’s for both you and the investor to get a data point on each other. 

After this meeting, keep your potential investors updated with a regular email. I’ve received these updates as frequently as weekly (too frequent, by the way) to quarterly. At a minimum you should have four sections: the good, the bad, thank you’s and an ask.  

If you’re sending regular email updates, a potential investor has multiple dots to start drawing a line. When you have your next meeting, they can then confidently draw that line up in a positive direction. 

Listen to the whole episode here:
Startup of the Year Podcast Episode #0036 – Startup Wisdom From Stephanie Lampkin of Blendoor

On this episode of the Startup of the Year Podcast, we hear some startup wisdom from the Founder and CEO of Blendoor, Stephanie Lampkin. Blendoor is inclusive recruiting and people analytics software that mitigates unconscious bias. Candidates are sourced from hundreds of strategic partners and universities and presented to recruiters without the candidate’s name, photo, or dates. Blendoor was also the winner of the Startup of the Year pitch competition in 2015.

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By Universe

I have strong, mixed feelings today.

I was a trader on 9/11, safe on midtown but still watching live on CNBC. It was scary as hell. 3000 people died, include acquaintances of mine.

The men who conducted the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. We went to war with Iraq, and later Afghanistan.

It’s estimated that on March 31, 2020 the deaths in NYC due to COVID-19 surpassed the NYC deaths of 9/11. And as a country we are at war… with ourselves.

I have such profound sadness at the loss of life from both. And such anger at the bungled leadership responses to both. I have pride that our country could come together so quickly and resolutely in the face of extremism in 2001. And shame that our country is dominated by extremism 19  years later.