Dear SaaStr: What Are The First Things VCs Notice During a Pitch?

The confidence.  Not in themselves, but in the the startup, the metrics, the customers, the product, and the market.

That’s the first thing you see:

  • Are they confident in their progress?
  • Are they confident in their metrics? Do they know them cold — customer count, ACV, # leads, etc.?
  • Do they have confident, credible, data-driven reasons to meet the plan for this year?
  • Are they confident as a team — do they finish each other’s sentences in the right way?
  • Are they confident in their understanding of the competition, the market, how the market is changing, etc.?
  • Are they overconfident / cocky? A bad sign unless you are a rocketship and already have a dozen termsheets.
  • Are they confident in the things they >don’t< know, honest about them, and self-aware?
  • Do they make things up? (Bad / wrong type of ‘confidence’)
  • Do they know exactly who they want to hire, and already have a few good ideas of whom?

When you see some early good traction, and the >right< type of confidence … you start leaning forward.

The right kind.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)

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