What do VCs want today? with @HarryStebbings
Growth, Efficiency, and High Margins. All Three.
Like the old days. 🙂
You don't get a pass on growth just because of the economy, or macro slowdowns. pic.twitter.com/73p146F4dS
— Jason ✨Be Kind✨ Lemkin (@jasonlk) January 19, 2023
So somewhat frequently I’ll see a VC just get burned and hazed on social media for saying something like, “The best founders respond almost instantly.” Or, “The best founders get back to you ASAP.” Or, “The best founders get their investor updates out at midnight on the last day of the month.”
Some founders (and others) get upset that VCs seem to be putting themselves up on a pedestal, and seem insensitive to how busy and overloaded a founder’s life is.
The concern is right, but here’s the thing. It’s true. On anything important, truly important — you hear back from the best founders in somewhere between 5 minutes and 24 hours. If it’s truly important. That includes the CEOs of $1B, $5b, $10B, $20B+ companies.
The other day I emailed the co-founder of a $10 Billion public company on something that might actually help them. I didn’t expect back a response, but I said just LMK if this could help. It turned out, it could help. I heard back in about an hour.
Half the job of a CEO is seeing both opportunities and spotting issues that others don’t. And to do that, you do have to be “monitoring communications” on the ship, one way or another. And also, looking for that magic moment:
- The magic moment when a Fortune 500 company says they might want to buy.
- That magic moment when your dream VP looks like they might be ready to move on.
- That magic moment when a top partner wants to do something more together.
- Or that tough moment, that lucid moment, when you might lose a top customer or deal to a competitor.
The best CEOs are hyper-aware of those magic moments.
Now when you are fundraising, realize that unless you already have a line of investors that already want to buy your shares, well then it’s sales. It’s selling stock. And really, it’s a bit like enterprise sales. You’re trying to land a whale — your lead VC. You should be all over that prospect and that deal, just like you are a $500k or $1m customer. The best CEOs are. Because they know it’s important.
So I know some won’t want to hear it, and some will disagree. But it’s why you sort of have to be hyper-responsive to VCs. It’s not just their egos (though that’s for sure part of it). They’re also judging you as a salesperson, as a leader. Do you make the right judgment calls? Do you know how to land a whale? Do you know how to treat them properly? Do you jump on a big potential “sale” (in this case, of stock)?
The best ones do.
A related post here:
magic image from here