How To Get Attention

How to get attention from a Venture Capital firm is a problem many entrepreneurs and young start-ups face. Mark Cuban is the TV face of VC’s as a start-up billionaire and regular ‘Shark Tank’ investor. Apparently he receives over 1000 emails a day pitching new ideas to him.

His advice to get attention is to make sure it is compelling in the first paragraph and if you are teaching him something you might get him interested.

“I’ll read the first paragraph or two and if it is something that catches my attention, and is interesting and I think is forward-thinking, then I will just start peppering them with questions,”

Mark Cuban

Minda Zetlin writing for Inc. magazine summarised the Mark Cuban ‘No Waste Rule’ down to four key recommendations

  1. Don’t waste time with phone calls or social media. Mark Cuban has publicly stated he prefers contact by email. Know your audience and how they prefer to interact with you.
  2. Get right to the point. Cuban says he knows in the first 2 seconds if he wants to know more.
  3. Skip the hyperbole. Explain your product, why it is unique and why it has an edge.
  4. Don’t waste time on frequent follow-ups. Don’t annoy investors, you need to create interest not irritation.

You should be aware that VC’s look to understand the industry and the opportunity. They look at lots and lots of firms and increasingly use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to automate an assessment.

That assessment will potentially use tools based on based on Pitchbook and Beauhurst data and help them look at the risk, viability and match to the portfolio strategy.

The best ways to get the attention of a Venture Capitalist starts with networking, look to see who can make the introduction.

Do your research and make sure you are approaching a firm that has a track record of interest in investing in your field. A VC firm needs to become your partnership for growth. They are looking to get a 4x return on investment so will be looking to not only invest but drive your business to rapidly grow!

What Not To Do

Guy Kawasaki knows a thing or two about venture capital not only has been a venture capitalist but he has also written books about VC and he has been an evangelist for Apple, Google and now for Canva. He wrote a list of what not to when trying to attract a VC’s attention.

  • Attach a PowerPoint presentation. The deck is for the face to face meeting, so don’t send it before hand.
  • Use the word “patented” more than once. Having a patent doesn’t really mean much. It does not guarantee that your idea is unique or even defensible. And it only costs about $1000 so it is not going to impress them.
  • Claim that you’re in a multi-billion dollar market. That is just saying you are like every other pitch.
  • Provide a lofty financial projection. Full of risk as Kawasaki says “Frankly, I wouldn’t provide any projection at all. It will be either too low and make your deal uninteresting or too high and make you look delusional”.
  • Brag about an MBA degree. It is not really relevant. Investors are looking to invest in the idea, the technology and the execution.
  • Try to create the illusion of scarcity. When you are trying to get noticed this will actually just get you ignored.

Key Takeaways

  • VC firms are looking to get a good return on their investment, usually they look to achieve a 4-5x the original investment as a return.
  • Networking is always a great step and talking widely can help you stay on the radar for future investments.
  • If you are going to pitch billionaire Mark Cuban – do it by email and make sure that the first paragraph nails the value proposition and hooks his interest.
DIGEST of an article from Inc.
Want Mark Cuban's Attention? Here's how to get it in 2 seconds or less
By Minda Zetlin
Published: 14th November 2020

and CNBC Make It
Mark Cuban: I get nearly 1000 emails a day - here is how to get my attention
By Jade Scipioni
Published: 10th November 2020

How to Get The Attention of a Venture Capitalist
By Guy Kawasaki
Published: 5th April 2007

and The Startup (Medium)
How to Get an Introduction with a VC
By Corey Singleton
Published: 13th March 2019

and Forbes
Getting VC Attention? Why You Should Ignore It For Now And Why You Should Meet Them On Your Terms
By Goncalo de Vasconcelos
Published: 2nd June 2020

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