Q: What actually happens in a VC pitch meeting to all the partners?
Let me add one key insight to “Full Partnership” / Monday style pitches. The ones where everyone is there.
Usually, these are yours to screw up. Usually, there’s already a 33%-95% chance you’ll get a term sheet if it goes well. Before you walk in the door. If your champion is senior enough, at least.
At every firm I’ve been a part of, and every VC I think I’ve ever pitched, when you get brought up in front of all the partners — your champion wants to do the deal.
If you champion is a real, full partner, then they probably can get the deal done. As long as you don’t screw it up.
They’ve likely already socialized it, and tried their best to set it up for success. VCs want to get deals done. You have to close deals to win. If you’re brought in front of the full partnership — your champion most likely wants to get you a term sheet.
- Don’t ramble. No need for 10 minutes on the industry. Get to the point.
- Don’t go off on tangents.
- Don’t answer questions you don’t know the answer to. Just say you don’t know. Nothing undermines confidence more in a group setting than a simply wrong answer.
- Don’t bring weird people to the meeting. Do bring your #1 top executive to the Zoom / meeting.
- Get to the point. Concise is good here. Leave more room for questions in the “all partner” pitch and expect some fairly basic ones, and some quirky ones. The other VC partners won’t know you as well as your sponsor.
- If you aren’t great at pitching — practice. Half of what they are looking for is confidence in the CEO and her/his vision.
- Be respectful of competitive analysis questions. The best founders know and respect the competition.
- Above all: exhibit no hubris, but — be confident. You are selling.
- Act like a CEO that can go the distance. Act like someone building a decacorn, and someone that knows what the business will look like at $100m ARR.
Don’t give the other partners, many of whom have barely done any work, an excuse to hard or soft veto the deal. Don’t mock their dumb questions. Don’t laugh at their poor analogies of your company to a non-competitor. Don’t get flustered. The Other Partners almost always haven’t done the work. But they can veto the deal.
Maybe even be 10% more conservative here than you’d be in a 1-on-1 pitch.
The “all hands”, “all partners” pitch is, at most firms, the final step to getting a term sheet.
In many cases, you may even get a term sheet that day.
You don’t screw it up.
(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)