Because every VC’s inbox is overflowing with pitches, and because VC’s don’t take meetings with just anyone, SoftTech VC’s Jeff Clavier, (who just raised $55 million for his third fund) offers advice to founders who hope to cut through the clutter, schedule a meeting, and score some financing from prominent investors.
In his final Founder Stories interview with host Chris Dixon, Clavier says when trying to get a VC’s attention, “figuring out in the ecosystem, who is the right sort of referral point is super important. It is the difference between being at the top of the funnel and being sort of close to deletion.”
He continues, if you are lucky enough to get through the door, “the goal of the first meeting is to get to the second meeting, right, and so pitch the idea. We like to hear stories… we like founders to tell us how they came up with the idea, what they have done before, why this is a passion of theirs and the passion for us is something that we need to feel.”
Clavier also advises founders keep a sharp focus on the benchmarks they are trying to nail during seed stage so they are teed up for their A Round. If not, he says you “will discover three months before you are about to raise money that you are not ready, and you might have actually been able to fix that six months prior, if you sort of knew you were taking the wrong trajectory.”
To help avoid the issue he adds, “sync up with your investors or people who have an outside view who can tell you, look dude you are just veering off, this is not relevant.”
Before the interview ends, Claver offers suggestions on building the best team and above all else, creating the best customer experience.
Past episodes of Founder Stories featuring the leaders of ZocDoc, MeetUp, Tumblr, Reddit, TripAdvisor and many more startups are here.
Jean-Francois “Jeff” Clavier is the Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC, one of the most established seed VC firms in Silicon Valley, having closed 150 investments since 2004. An early angel investor in Web 2.0, Jeff and his team have backed successful startups like Mint (Intuit), Kongregate (GameStop), Brightroll, Milo (eBay), Wildfire (Google), Bleacher Report (Turner), Fitbit, Eventbrite, Sendgrid, Fab, Poshmark and Class Dojo. The portfolio has also seen acquisitions by Groupon, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and AOL. The...
SoftTech VC is one of the original micro VC firms, founded in 2004 and backing over 135 early-stage start-ups. Based in Palo Alto, the firm manages two institutionally-backed funds and invests in Silicon Valley, New York, Southern California, Boulder and Canada. SoftTech VC is among the most active investors in early stage consumer Internet and B2B startups, consistently investing in 20 new opportunities a year. We seek great entrepreneurs, differentiated products and large market opportunities. More information...
Chris Dixon is a Partner at and co-founder of Founder Collective. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch. He previously was the CEO and Co-founder of SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee, and Hunch, which was acquired by eBay. In addition to his work with Founder’s Collective, Chris is a personal investor in early-stage technology companies, including Skype, TrialPay, DocVerse, Invite Media, Gerson Lehrman Group, ScanScout, OMGPOP, BillShrink, Oddcast, Panjiva, Knewton, and a handful of other startups that...