“Do you know ‘George’ from Maxim (Integrated Products)?” Mike, the managing partner at Crosslink, the San Francisco based VC Fund where I was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), asked me.
“Yes, I know George,” I said.
“He just sent his pitch deck to us through our website,” Mike said. “Since you worked there (at Maxim), I was wondering what you thought of him?” I’ll get back to what happened to George in a bit.
Of course, VCs look at unsolicited pitch decks that are sent to them.
Obviously, you’re going to be better served with a warm introduction from someone that knows the partner you’re trying to meet with. However, the coldest of cold introductions such as sending your deck through a web portal will work.
I cold emailed VC partners that I couldn’t meet any other way, and I was able to get meetings with them. Now, my success rate of around twenty percent was the lowest using this methodology, but we got meetings.
And that’s your goal, to get a meeting. Then, regardless of whether you got in front of an investor via a warm introduction or a web portal, the rest is up to you.
You need make a great impression quickly with potential investors.
You’re crazy if you expect an investor to read every slide of your deck in detail. Instead, you want to get right to the point when you submit an unsolicited deck via email or a web portal.
You do this by making your introduction right to the point, so they actually look at the deck. Here’s how I did it:
My name is Brett Fox. I am the CEO of Touchstone Semiconductor.
Touchstone is a high-performance Analog IC company (think Linear and Maxim) that achieves profitability with minimal funding.
The founding team, including the design team, are alumni of Maxim. The designers average over 20 years of experience.
We have a term sheet from a very good VC on Sand Hill Road, and we are looking for an additional investor. Please let me know how you would like to proceed.
The goal is to make it really easy for an investor to want to read your deck or set up a meeting with you.
You have to make your deck’s introduction slide(s) really stand out.
Let’s say you’ve made it through the first hurdle with your introduction. Now, the investor has decided to look at your deck.
That doesn’t mean they are going to spend twenty minutes reading every slide. It does mean that you’ve got their attention for maybe one or two minutes maximum.
That means you have to sell them on the power of your introduction slide(s):
- It should be instantly obvious what the problem you’re solving is, and…
- It should be instantly obvious why the problem you’re solving is causing customers intense pain, and…
- It should be instantly obvious why you’re solution is compelling, and…
- it should be instantly obvious why this is a big opportunity, and…
- You need to do all of this quickly, without going into a huge amount of detail.
If that sounds challenging, then, you’re right. It is challenging to do this. However, it can be done.
George got Mike’s attention or Mike wouldn’t have asked me my opinion of George. So, yeah, VCs actually do look at unsolicited decks. Then, as I said earlier, it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity.