Getting a venture capitalist’s attention

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Whats the best way to get a Venture Capitalist’s attention?

Not sure if I put it in a correct order (or if there is a correct order), but here you go:

  1. To operate (or plan to operate) in the industry the VC is interested in. If you have a social networking or a new media company, you will be of no interest to a VC specializing in handheld hardware; he simply won’t feel comfortable evaluating your revenue prospects and competitive position.
  2. To be in the right development stage. All VCs have a preferred habitat, be it start-up, proof of concept, revenue, mezzanine, or pre-IPO, and they don’t like to stray too far from it; they may go one notch up or down, but no more than that.
  3. To have the right funding requirements. If a VC only invests in deals requiring between $5 and $20 million, he won’t listen to a $200k proposal, nor to a $100 million proposal (unless he has a co-investor in mind); either would be out of his range.
  4. To have a presentable management team in place. At the very least, you should have someone capable of overseeing product development, someone who knows how to market the product once it’s developed, and someone who can keep track of where the money goes and have an intelligent conversation about burn rates, pro forma financials, valuation, and all that. Ideally, you also want a CEO with previous experience running high-growth companies. They don’t have to quit their day jobs yet, but they must be prepared to attend meetings with potential investors and start working for the new company full-time once funding is in place.
  5. To have substantial revenue potential (tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue is okay, hundreds of millions is good, billions is even better).

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