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How to tell if a VC or other funding meeting went well...

Stashed in: Startups, 106 Miles, Angels, Funding, Meetings, @investingmom, Startup Advice

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Someone recently asked me this, so I thought I would opine here.

1) If the person across the table asks questions, seems engaged, etc., it was a good meeting. If he/she doesn't ask anything about the business, that means they checked out.

2) Is there follow up planned? Note: talking to "one of my partners" is NOT follow up. That is a potential blow off.

3) Following up on #2... this is a SALES PROCESS. Treat it as such and ask them what their next steps are. If you get a concrete sense of what those steps are, you will have a far better sense of where YOU stand.

4) Did the meeting run over? If yes, then you definitely had a good meeting. If not, that doesn't mean the meeting went poorly because many VCs are often fully booked.

5) Did they offer potential intros, ideas or other help? That means they liked you. They may not invest, but you had a good meeting.

It helps to go into a meeting with an objective, such as seeking advice about a specific part of the business.

It also helps to have the expectation going into the meeting that this is like a first date. The entrepreneur or investor can decide not to continue to build the relationship, and there's no sense trying to force something that is not working.

At the end of the meeting, don't just ask for next steps; ask who else you should talk with about the company.

In general I find if I have to ask if this person is interested, then chances are good that s/he is not interested.

I've had the best VC meetings with engaged partners that truly understood my business and technology--they really got it--but thinking things through to their logical conclusion, it didn't make sense for them to fund it. They did share what their thinking was behind their decision and what their recommendation was for a strategy going forward. Sometimes a fast NO is very valuable, so I would consider those good meetings.

Two different meetings where they did go forward, they were stoic as all hell and somewhat standoffish--truly left me wondering what they were thinking. The best indicator? They called less than an hour afterwards and said they wanted to go forward. Both those deals moved forward.

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