SoftBank Capital’s Joe Medved Tells the Truth About Getting VC Attention

20131001_100035It’s investor morning at Everywhere Else Cincinnati. We have some talented VC’s talking to the crowd, including a keynote from Joe Medved of Soft Bank Capital.

Medved’s talk was a gold mine for new founders considering raising capital. Seriously, he gave away all the secrets, even the ones to the most common question founders have:

How do I get a VC’s attention!

Medved had all the answers, some of them a little surprising.

  1. Referrals, referrals, referrals. Without a doubt, the number one way to get a VC’s attention is a great referral. VC’s get pitches from thousands of companies a year, and they have to cut through the noise somehow. To drive the point home, Medved talked about that general info email address every company has on their website. “We may have taken a few meetings from that email address, but I’m pretty sure we’ve never actually invested in a company that used it.”
  2. Networking was the second best way Medved listed for connecting with an investor. Conferences like our Everywhere Else series are great places to meet personable, helpful VCs. Meetups are also a great place, especially if they are super niche. For example, if you’re a hardware company and you meet an investor at a hardware tech meetup, you can feel confident they’re interested in hardware deals.
  3. Don’t have a the kind of meetup you need close to you? Start it yourself! Proving that you’re a connector and can get things done is a great way to prove your worth to anyone, but especially and investor.
  4. Medved, like all of us, talked regretfully about that massively full inbox. For busy investors, a better way to engage online could be commenting on their blogs or interacting with them on Twitter. This type of communication will grow, but at the moment, it’s often easier for VCs to interact on those platforms than through email.
  5. Alternative sites like AngelList are far down the list, but they are still a good way to begin connecting. Crowdfunding can also be effective because once your prove the market value of your product, investment can seem a lot less risky.
  6. Finally, apply to an accelerator, particularly one that engages lots of investors as mentors. These accelerators are set up to filter through cold proposals, so the investors that commit to mentoring know that some of the initial due diligence has already been done. If you handle the accelerator wisely, you have 3 months to prove your worth and get to know the VCs on a personal level. We all like to work with people we like, so a personal relationship is always a good thing.

That’s just a small portion of the great content we’re hearing at Everwhere Else. Stay tuned as we roll through day 2 in Cincinnati.

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