Good morning, All,
First off, our next Breakfast with an Investor will be Wednesday, December 17th and our guest investor will be the one and only David Teten.
A partner with ff Venture Capital, which has made over 200 investments in over 70 companies across the US, Canada, UK, and Israel since 1999. He is also Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York, the second-largest angel network in New York and cofounder of the Venture Capital Access Program, which helps women and minority entrepreneurs raise venture capital from members of the HBS Alumni Angels network. He is a Mentor with Founder Institute in New York and Singapore, Dreamit Ventures, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Lean Startup Machine, and Startup Leadership Program. More on him on his Linkedin profile.
Teten also co-authored The Virtual Handshake, which is available as a free download.
It’s our last breakfast of the year, and we’ll have some holiday cheer on hand. Non-alcoholic. It’s breakfast, after all. We also keep the group small, so that you can get 1-on-1 time with our guest. Register here.
It’s the holidays and we know what that means – generally. That things tend to slow down, and by ‘things,’ we mean investment deals closing. Investors have lives, too. They’re also invited to holiday parties.
We’ll also take this opportunity to remind you of the story of Boxee founder Avner Ronen. Ronen was determined that Fred Wilson invest in his company, but Wilson turned him down. Ronen continued to send him a brief email every month without fail with news about Boxee – and Wilson continued to turn him down. Until he didn’t. It took 18 months, but USV did invest.
So, what does this have to do with the holidays? Let’s not also forget that tis the season for holiday meeting and greeting, and it all starts this week, and here’s your opportunity to potentially meet that key person who might just help get you to the next level. But before you go, here are a few tips to remember. Above all, don’t leave home without business cards, plenty of them, and put them to good use:
- Holiday gathering present a great opportunity to network. Investors go, too. Introduce yourself. But…
- If you happen to spot an investor or two, don’t back them into a corner and launch into your pitch. Be friendly. Introduce yourself. Keep it brief. Offer to follow up after the holidays. Then…
- Make a note to follow up after the holidays. Remind the investors where you met. But…
- Make sure to send that note to yourself immediately. You know all that holiday cheers going around? Not sure of the particular proof that night, but alcohol does make one tend to forget things.
- Make sure the investors you’re talking to invest in whatever vertical you’re targeting. Don’t waste anyone’s time. There’s always another party.
- You know all of those investors you met with this past year? Send them holiday cards. If you’ve gotten traction, mention it. Briefly. You’re sending a holiday card, not a revised pitch.
- Investors aren’t the be-all and end-all of your potential success. Think potential partners, too. There are people from corporations who are also out on the holiday circuit. Keep an eye out for them.
- If you don’t know anyone in the room, don’t go off and stand in the corner or leave. Introduce yourself to someone else who also doesn’t seem to know anyone. Better still, introduce yourself to someone who seems to know everyone.
- No matter who you’re talking to, don’t launch into what you need or are looking for. A conversation involves at least two people – the operative being involves. Find out who you’re talking to – you know, have a conversation – and don’t feel compelled to ask that person for something. Here’s your chance to get to know them. It’s a party. Follow up at another time. Like, after the holidays.
- Don’t forget to ask for a business card and write a note to yourself on the card to remind yourself of where you met – and what you’re supposed to follow up with.
- Never give away your last card. As we’ve said, everyone has a card scanner or at least a camera on his or her phone. Have the person take a picture of your card. In fact, always take a pic of someone’s card – in case you lose or misplace it.
- Smile. It’s the holiday season. And don’t have that final drink that’s going to put you over the top until you’re really and officially on your way out the door. Oh, we do mean when you’re leaving the party, not leaving your office or apartment on your way to the party, for those of you who may need us to spell it out.
So get out there and put the time and opportunities to good use. And remember the lessons of Avner Ronen, whom we haven’t seen around in forever, but then, his company was acquired and we hope wherever he is, he’s enjoying. Now, there’s an entrepreneur who let nothing stopped him, and who knew exactly what it meant to push onward and forward.