Are you an entrepreneur trying to raise capital for your startup? At the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival Liza Benson, Partner at Starvest Partners, and Albert Wenger, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures, offered up their wisdom on the trends and qualities V.C.s are looking for in founders and new companies. Here’s what you need to know:
Artificial Intelligence: The Trend Continues
A.I. is driving innovation across multiple industries and V.C.s recognize A.I. will continue to shape, change, and dramatically alter our society in the future.
“I think when you have the proliferation of data we have coming out today, there’s no way for a human to process that type of information,” Liza said. “We’re going to keep seeing business intelligence tools come out. The data is just too vast for anyone to understand this point.”
Albert also noted several companies in the USV portfolio aren’t necessarily explicit A.I. Instead, there are companies using artificial intelligence to help them comb through data and then use that information for a product or service offering.
Bottom line? Artificial intelligence will keep blowing up and V.C.s want in on the action.
Size and Metrics: Not What You Think
No matter your company size, if you have a product, service, or business idea that intrigues a V.C., they will want to get to know you and learn more about your company.
“The smallest company I would invest in is two guys and a dog,” Albert said. In short? Company size and employee count don’t really matter to a V.C.. Your potential or successful execution do.
In a similar vein, metrics might also not be as all-important as you think.
“Most of the things we invest in don’t have perfect metrics,” Liza said. “You’re not going to have the perfect metrics every time. It’s not possible.”
Instead of freaking out about the facets of your business that are less than “ideal,” let the V.C. decide what’s important to them about your business. You might be surprised.
It’s All About Relationships
If you want to find that critical V.C. funding, it’s time to get out, network, mingle, and actually connect with V.C.s! Interaction on social media can be a great springboard to a first connection with a V.C.. Albert noted he began several relationships with new companies via comments and interactions on his blog posts and social media.
Aside from connecting digitally, meeting V.C.s in person is also key to establishing relationships and ultimately finding funding.
“I actually do go out a lot at night,” Liza said. “Someone’s always hosting a dinner for something, and you go, get talking, and that’s how you meet people and learn new ideas.”
If dinner parties aren’t your thing, seek out experiences where V.C.s will be in attendance. Think: conferences, expos, panels, networking events, or lectures. If you want that V.C. funding, it’s time to get out into the world and forge real, meaningful connections with the people who can invest in you and your business. Because, at the end of the day, relationships are everything.
Watch highlights from Albert and Liza’s talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:
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