orange notes: Detroit Mobility Lab Panel Session — How To Pitch VCs

  • Megan Guy
  • Kate Hernandez
  • Detroit Venture Partners
  • Family office
  • Reilly Brennan
  • Early or way too early
  • Chris Thomas
  • Assembly ventures
  • Detroit and berlin
  • When being pitched the first time?
  • Research the VC
  • Be responsive and follow up
  • Reilly
  • Want to see a ton of risk on the table
  • Communicate the risk well
  • Honesty, point out your weaknesses
  • Megan
  • Short on slides, don’t read off them
  • Know what you’re looking for in your next investor
  • What kind of partner, assets, skill
  • Any companies that have shown this well?
  • Zendrive
  • Had a chief of staff early
  • Very few do this
  • About communicating your vision
  • Universal Hydrogen
  • Visualized concept very (painstakingly) well
  • Fintech company [name not provided]
  • Data room
  • Be well prepped and don’t drag out the raising process
  • Be ready for what comes after the pitch
  • They had written blogs
  • This showed thought process, gave a ton of confidence to investors
  • Documented strategic decisions
  • Kate
  • Why this team?
  • Articulate what would need to be true in order to reach the huge outcome
  • Are your milestones tied to this? Think about this
  • Eg expand verticals
  • What are signs that you’re into it or they’re losing you in the pitch?
  • How many questions is VC asking?
  • A lot is good
  • Take control of the meeting [as the founder]
  • Intro with direction you want to take meeting
  • Start with 30 sec elevator pitch
  • When really interested, VC is trying to understand really specific things
  • If you get hard questions, circle back and answer later offline
  • Reilly
  • On first meeting he tries to be co conspirator with founder, talk up ideas
  • Get founders outside the flow of their deck to challenge how they manage the difficulty
  • Whether or not you answer the qs, keep track of them all so you can pitch better next time
  • Investors appreciate some silence as the founder thinks on answer
  • Shows you’re thoughtful, appreciate the difficulty of things
  • Want confident but not cocky
  • What are some of the worst practices for founders?
  • Megan
  • Married cofounders didn’t disclose it up front, got awkward later
  • Have to practice your demo (data) a ton
  • Kate
  • Pitch is too rehearsed
  • Like a cheesy skit
  • Don’t get too personal in pitch
  • Yes end with questions for the VC
  • Reilly
  • Don’t talk up your famous angel investor
  • Make sure everyone on your team at the pitch speaks
  • Imagine it like how you would run a board meeting
  • Zoom hygiene
  • If you get a “pass”, how do you still follow up? [as founder]
  • A month or two later give an update
  • People like seeing a mailing list
  • What if post investment, a senior leader or founder leaves?
  • Quite common, face it head on and don’t hide it
  • What’s special about Detroit?
  • Megan
  • Appreciates midwestern roots
  • Brother manages great lakes coffee
  • Reilly
  • Excited about MMI (Michigan Mobility Institute)
  • In partnership with Wayne State
  • More loyal employees in midwest
  • Michigan can build more on natural resources
  • Kate
  • Seeing 2nd generation founders now in Detroit
  • DONE




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Gabriel Casalduc

Gabriel Casalduc

Thinking all the time, writing poorly some of the time

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