; The Early Fintech Funder
Amy Nauiokas is founder and CEO of Anthemis, where she
invests in early-stage tech companies in media and financial
services. Her portfolio includes Betterment and Simple.
Don’t be afraid to talk about what keeps you up at night or
share your weaknesses. Failing to acknowledge the skills you
lack as a founder is the greater weakness.
Ask real questions about the type of relationship investors
expect to have with their portfolio companies.
Asking for money for your business is always time-consuming, often fruitless, and inevitably stressful.
But there are ways to make the process more productive and maybe even a little bit enjoyable—
beginning with how, and to whom, you make your pitch. To start, “keep it short,” advises Barry Schuler,
the former America Online CEO and chairman turned high-profile venture capitalist at DFJ. He’s one
of several top investors Inc. recently asked to share their pitching advice for entrepreneurs—based on
their experiences vetting thousands of founder pitches, managing billions of dollars, and backing
companies including Tesla, Uber, and Twitter. So while there’s no one right way to make the money ask,
you can get ahead of the game by consulting these investors’ secrets for making successful pitches.
; “Don’t be afraid to talk about what keeps you up at night. Failing to acknowledge the skills you lack is the greater weakness.”
—AM Y NAUIOKAS
; The Biotech Backer
Josh Makower is a general
partner on the health care
team of venture giant
New Enterprise Associates,
which raised $3.3 billion
for its most recent fund.
Makower, who holds an MD, also co-founded
Stanford’s biodesign innovation program.
If your pitch isn’t going well, it’s totally appropriate to say, “Are you with me? Does this make
sense to you?” Then you have an opportunity
to address whatever the concern is. Spend the
time and get to the bottom of it. The worst
thing you can do is press on.
If you are on slide one and everyone nods,
and there are other bullet points on that slide,
move on. Otherwise, if they’ve already nodded
and you’re still talking about that same thing,
they’re going to be checking their email.
; The Socially
Jenny Abramson is
the founder and
of Rethink Impact, a
venture fund focused
and social impact.
Her portfolio companies include Guild,
EverFi, and Werk.
Every leader tells
us about their own
you should also talk
about your team.
That shows us you’re
humble and have
respect for the other
Don’t be overly
how big the business
can get. VCs will
require a haircut on
; The Growth Leader
Barry Schuler is managing
director at DFJ, one of the
first venture firms to focus
on growth as a specific
practice and an investor in
Twitter and Tesla. Schuler
sits on the boards of Coin-base, Formlabs, and Giphy.
You can’t keep trade secrets
from your investors.
The number-one sign of
complete transparency is
an entrepreneur who says,
“I don’t know the answer
to that question, but I will
get it to you.”
Keep it short—four bullet
points per slide. It really
detracts from the pitch
if you’re up there talking
with passion next to a slide
The of the HOW TO WIN OVER INVESTORS BY KIMBERLY WEISUL