VC Minute: Building Relationships Before You Raise

By September 22, 2020October 20th, 2020Everything

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.