|How to Talk to Money: Tailor Your
To Investors and Venture Capitalists (VCs)
By Craig Harrison, www.ExpressionsOfExcellence.com
With your new venture idea in tow you arrive at the Trump Towers lobby
and spy the bank of elevators. The reality: only one of twelve will elevate you
to the rare air where angel investors reside…in the penthouse. Your elevator
speech — your sixteen-second sound bite — must push all the right
buttons or your ride will end far from the top of the building. Simply put: Do
you know how to talk to money?
To get your venture funded, your Elevator Speech to investors, including Venture
Capitalists (VCs), needs more than the usual qualities of a standard elevator
• Short and easily comprehended
• Compelling and memorable
• Showcasing your uniqueness
• Leading to further inquiry
It's not enough! Investors, and especially VCs, listen with a different set
of values, need different questions answered and play for far higher stakes.
Indeed their requirements for doing business are very different.
Thus your Elevator Speech to VCs should focus on the following:
• Showcasing your maturity (Are you CEO material?)
• Demonstrating your brilliance
• Presenting a proven track record (to show you're bankable)
• Documenting your technical skills
• Letting VCs (and sometimes investors) know there's a role for them
So whether you've a built a better mousetrap, found a cure for cancer, or
simply designed a product that is faster, cheaper or easier to manufacture, keep
these tips in mind for your sixteen-second sound bite:
• Don’t get too technical
• Keep your pitch short and sweet
• Tease (don't tell)
• Make it memorable!
Ears and Ayes
Here are some additional questions VCs ask, explicitly or implicitly, whenever
you pitch them with your elevator speech. Regarding your venture, investors and
• Does it change the world?
• Does it scale?
• Does it represent a paradigm shift?
• Is it protectable?
• Is the founder CEO material?
• Can VC’s buy in cheaply?
• Is the management team experienced?
• Can they handle the money?
• Is it worth a Billion (market capitalization)
• Can it go public and, if so, how soon?
While you needn't, nor shouldn't, answer all these questions in your elevator
speech, know that they form the background for your dialog with investors. Knowing
this, you can push the right buttons to obtain the funding you need, whether
from angel investors or your friendly neighborhood banker.
"Hi, I'm Trent Markeson, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. We're ASOUNDING.
We've wed telephony and technology to provide VOIP for high ROI. Our prototype
has turned heads and ears. Even if you got SKYP'd last time there's still time
to join us before we go public."
"Our team's created a new programming language blending the best of Java,
Mocha and Perl. It's incredibly cost-effective: easy to learn, teach and use,.
I'm Steven Peng, programmer and founder of Austin's LingoLabs. Tell me about
the type of companies your firm partners with."
"We've conceived a new treatment for a very debilitating disease…Alzheimer's.
Trials have gone well and approval is on the way. We're UC San Diego alums with
degrees in molecular biology and past experience with Genentech."
Craig Harrison founded EXPRESSIONS OF EXCELLENCE!™ to provide sales
and service solutions through speaking. Visit his website www.ExpressionsOfExcellence,.com for
speaking, training, consulting and coaching resources and solutions for you and
your firm. Inquiries: email@example.com. Toll-free by phone: (888) 450-0664.