Your Startup is Just a Story – Or How to Win an Argument with a VC

“We can argue about that” he said.

He was the nicest VC I have ever met, but I knew we were dead in the water.

“You can bring your experts and I can bring mine, and they’ll argue”, he continued.

“But in the end, we won’t KNOW”.

And that was it… no investment.

Back in the old days I would beat myself up whenever I got a NO from an investor. Why doesn’t he like my idea? Is it because of me? Am I not smart enough? Maybe I wasn’t convincing enough or I wore the wrong shoes or pants. Or maybe because I am just not a likeable. Maybe it’s because I am bald.

But the truth is, unless you are a remarkable showman, you’ll only get investments in one of two ways:

1. Get proof

Build the first version of your product and get users to use it. Better yet, make them buy it.

Proof beats almost anything.

2. Find an investor that already believes in your idea –

My friend (let’s call him David) had an brilliant idea, but it was just a story. He took his story to every investor he could find – they all said no.

He called me one day, after spending 18 months looking for an investment. He told me that I had to come with him to this investor meeting. It was the last he was going to do and he needed me to back him up. After that he’ll start looking for a job. He was almost broke.

We went to the investor. David started the presentation and after 5 minutes the investor stopped him. “I thought about this idea myself about a year ago… but I didn’t have the capacity to make it happen.”

3 months later David got $700,000 from a group of investors that this one guy put together.

Final piece of advice

Once you’ve started arguing with an investor about whether your startup is going to work or not, you’ve already lost. If investors say they have doubts, smile, take their business card and call them when you have proof.

And don’t be hard on yourself. You are awesome and bald is the new black.

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