20 things founders say and what investors think

I’ve always been told that it’s not what you say that matters most but what people hear. This is something that I find a lot of people don’t generally think about ahead of time, especially founders when they pitch investors. You have a limited amount of time to get your message across, so make sure that you’re clear, consistent and right to the point.

So lets just jump into it with a few:

Founder: Before we start, can you sign this NDA?Investor: HA!

Founder: Our mutual friend recommended I reach outInvestor: Do you really know them or did you make small chat at an event?

Founder: I would love to pick your brain sometimeInvestor: Hmmm maybe you could be more specific?

Founder: Maybe we could meet up for coffee sometime?Investor: I already drink enough but it would be nice if you sent specific dates so we don’t have to go back and forth

Founder: [in email] Let me know if you would like to learn more and I’ll send over our deckInvestor: Please send over your deck

Founder: Our company name is Widget.ai.io.ly.comInvestor: That’s a weird name — why would they choose that? I hope there is a good reason and not just what they could purchase.

Founder: We are the X for Y but with AI, neural networks and some blockchain sprinkled in there but utilizing edge computing. Maybe ICO too.Investor: Jargon jargon jargon hopefully they can back this up and actually have it, not just want to aspire to it.

Founder: We are the first to do this and have no competition. Check out this awesome arbitrary chart with us in the top right corner.Investor: That’s not true and I just met with a dozen similar startups with more traction

Founder: We’re in talks and working with a lot of companies right now but we can’t tell you who — so much interest from the Fortune 100.Investor: So a bunch of free trials for 3–6months that will only convert a few.

Founder: We’re trying to raise a few hundred thousand dollars to build out some features and make a few hiresInvestor: Sounds a little wishy washy like you don’t know what you’re doing and aren’t in control

Founder: We’re waiting on the lead to set the termsInvestor: Eh ok but do you have something in mind you would like?

Founder: We have a lot of interest but no one will commit until we have a lead investorInvestor: Yah that’s typical — most of us will wait until you have a lead to round us all up.

Founder: We have a lead investor!Investor: I really hope this is true and you’re not stretching the truth. Also hopefully it’s a well known VC and not a weird/first timer that hasn’t done this before.

Founder: We have the best advisors from the top companiesInvestor: A few head-shots of people you talk to sporadically

Founder: We’re projecting $100M of revenue in 5yrsInvestor: Good luck with that — most likely double your expenses and half your rev for the first few years

Founder: We’re projecting $10M of revenue in 5yrsInvestor: Ugh that’s not enough for us…

Founder: We’ll breakeven by the end of the yearInvestor: That’s nice and I hope it actually happens

Founder: Are there any other investors who you think would be interested?Investor: Don’t worry, if there are, I will definitely share it with them.

Founder: My friend/family is currently doing legal for usInvestor: That will have to change ASAP

Founder: Google, Apple, Facebook and/or Amazon will acquire us when we beat them because they can’t do what we do.Investor: Sure of course — do you even know anyone there?

To clarify this is generally for pre-seed/seed investments so there isn’t much to show very early on — living on hopium at this point. However, in my next post, I will show you how you can turn these basic phrases and throwaway terms into real meaningful conversations that will excite any investor. Yes it takes work but I promise you it will pay off.

20 things founders say and what investors think was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Publication date: 
02/09/2018 - 16:59
Author: 
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