UPDATE: Venture Capital Bootcamp is now live.
This Thursday, June 3rd at 12pm EST, we will be opening the doors
to Venture Capital Bootcamp, our 4-week online venture
capital coaching program. You’ll receive step-by-step training walking
you through the entire venture capital process from start to
Here's an overview of what we'll be covering each week...
Week 1: Preparing to Raise Venture Capital
During Week 1, you’ll learn:
* The pros and cons of debt vs. equity capital (and unique advantages of VC)
* Key venture capital terminology you must know to get funded
* How angel investors can help you raise venture capital
* What venture capitalists will want to see BEFORE writing you a check
* And more...
Week 2: Finding and Contacting Venture Capitalists
During Week 2, you’ll learn:
* How to create a targeted list of VCs who will actually want to hear your pitch
* Top mistakes to avoid when contacting venture capitalists
* 6 ways to get tons of VC meetings (even if you don’t have ANY “connections”)
* How to tell if a VC is serious about funding you (or just wasting your time)
* And more...
Week 3: How to Pitch Venture Capitalists
During Week 3, you'll learn:
* How to protect your business ideas when meeting with VCs
* The 10 things you must cover in your VC pitch
* Top venture capital presentation mistakes to avoid
* Effective follow-up strategies for after your VC meeting
* And more...
Week 4: How to Negotiate with Venture Capitalists
* When to hire a lawyer
* How to maximize your valuation (so you keep control of your company)
* What terms to watch out for in your venture capital “term sheet”
* How to prepare for venture capital due diligence, so it goes smoothly
* And more...
Also: Weekly Q&A Call-In Sessions
The weekly training modules will answer most of your
commonly-asked questions about how to raise venture capital. However, as
you really get into the venture capital process... and you start
contacting and meeting with investors, you’ll likely have questions
about what to do next.
That’s why I’ll be holding Four 90-Minute Q&A Sessions during VC Bootcamp, at the end of each week. Each session will last approximately 90 minutes.
Here’s the Weekly Q&A schedule:
Week 1 Q&A call: Friday, June 11 at 12pm EST.
Week 2 Q&A call: Friday, June 18 at 12pm EST.
Week 3 Q&A call: Friday, June 25th at 12pm EST.
Week 4 Q&A call: Thursday, July 1st at 12pm EST. *
* (I’ve scheduled the last call for Thursday, rather than Friday, so we won’t conflict with the Fourth of July holiday weekend.)
You’ll receive the dial-in instructions after you register for VC Bootcamp. And each Q&A session will be 90 minutes long, so you’ll have the opportunity to ask me any and all questions you have about how to raise venture capital.
And, if for any reason, you’re unable to attend one of the sessions, we’ll post recordings of the Q&A calls in the members’ area for you.
My Q&A calls are a tremendous opportunity for you to get all of your questions asked, so you can approach investors with greater confidence.
Plus: 1-on-1 Venture Capital Coaching
When you attend VC Bootcamp, you’ll also be paired up with your own personal Venture Capital Coach, for three 1-on-1 coaching sessions.
During these coaching sessions, your Coach will give you personal feedback on the three most critical elements of your VC campaign:
1. Business Plan Review
Your coach will review your business plan with you and give you feedback on how to make sure your business plan will impress investors.
2. Venture Capital List Creation
Your coach will help you create the perfect list of VC firms for you to contact, and will also help you craft the message you’ll use to line up face-to-face meetings with venture capitalists.
3. Venture Capital Pitch Feedback
Your coach will review your VC pitch with you, and will prepare you to answer all the tough questions that VCs are likely to ask you.
Limited to 150 Attendees
We are strictly limiting enrollment in VC Bootcamp to 150 attendees.
And that’s for a couple of reasons…
The main reason is because we have a small coaching staff. We only have the staff to coach 150 entrepreneurs at once. Our 10 coaches will be coaching a maximum of 15 students, each. I’m limiting each coach’s workload to make sure you get the personal attention you need.
The other reason is that I want to make sure that the Q&A sessions are manageable, so you’re able to get ALL of your questions answered.
Click here to register for Venture Capital Bootcamp
Not long ago, I drove from NY to Maryland to meet with 15 successful business owners for 2 days. Very cool stuff.
It's hard to realize everything you don't know until it's right in front of your face. You see, each of us took turns speaking. We each spent 30 minutes discussing things that were working well in our businesses, and then 30 minutes talking about things that weren't working so well and soliciting feedback from the group.
I walked away with 2-pages of great ideas to implement.
So, after the "Mastermind" meeting, I'm driving home from Maryland and something strange got my attention. This red truck sped by me. And it had a decal that really pissed me off.
The decal said: "Born to Hunt....Forced to Work"
Now I'm not upset about hunting. I'm not a hunter. And I know a lot of folks disapprove of hunting. But that's not my issue.
My issue is someone saying that they are forced to work.
You see, my decal would read:
"Born to Be An Entrepreneur...Happy to Work as an Entrepreneur"
Meaning that your work should be what you love. If you love to hunt, then make that your business. Sell hunting equipment or apparel. Set up a website for hunting enthusiasts. Become a coach that teaches hunters to improve their skills.
You get the point...
I just hate it when folks complain...when the answer is within their reach.
If you aren't running your own business yet, create your own decal. What would you say you are born to do?
And then figure out a business that you could start to leverage
And then create your business plan.
And then raise capital.
And then you're off to the races.
P.S. It's so powerful to get together with like-minded entrepreneurs. It's the fastest shortcut to explosive business growth I know of....
You get to avoid the mistakes that others have made before you... But more importantly, you can make huge leaps and bounds by learning what's working in each other's businesses.
Frankly, I wish I hadn't waited so long to join a Mastermind Group. And I'm even thinking about creating and running my own at some point in the future.
Do you know what Google, PayPal, Microsoft and Adobe Systems have in common (besides being successful tech companies)?
They all evolved substantially before becoming major successes.
Google started as a search engine. But only after it acquired Applied Semantics, did it realize its true business: text-based advertising.
Microsoft began by building programming software. Later, it found its business in operating systems, Microsoft Office and servers.
Here's a great concept I originally learned from Babak Nivi, an entrepreneur and investor who also runs the website VentureHacks.com.
It's called the "High Concept Pitch," and this concept is critical to both your capital raising and marketing efforts.
So, what is a "high concept pitch"?
A high concept pitch is a single sentence that distills your company's vision. In other words, it's like a super-condensed elevator pitch.
If there's one story that I don't like to tell, it's this one...
But, there's a great lesson in it, so I'll tell it anyway.
Years ago, prior to Growthink, I created a frozen smoothie product. Let me explain exactly what it was...
If you ever buy a smoothie from a juice shop, half of the product is essentially juice concentrate and frozen fruits, and the other half is simply water.
I think you'll like this story...
It was 1982, and a young man named Kenneth Cole wanted to launch a shoe company.
But, like many entrepreneurs, he had no money. He thought about going to U.S. banks and factories for capital, but feared that this was a long shot for him.
So, instead, he found a small Italian shoe production facility that had been hit hard by the 80s economy and desperately needed more clients. The company offered Kenneth a line of credit, and they immediately started manufacturing shoes.
It's not very often that you hear someone say there is a lesson to be learned from vodka. However, that's exactly the case in the example I want to share today.
While alcohol is nothing new to the United States, surprisingly, vodka has only been here since Prohibition was repealed in the 1930's.
The first attempt to get vodka in the US market was by a Russian immigrant with the Smirnoff brand.
I took my first marketing course nearly 20 years ago. And I absolutely loved it. I was in my third year at the University of Virginia, and my professor, Sandra Schmidt, was simply awesome.
She was one of those professors who loved what she did. She was always smiling, spoke with great emotion, and truly loved marketing and teaching. And on the very first day of class, I still remember to this day, she asked us two questions to test our knowledge.
For many years, I had a poster on my wall with a quote from Calvin Coolidge, the 30th American President. Coolidge believed persistence was the most important attribute you can have.
After the dot com bust, I served on a panel with Tom Clancy, a former partner at Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, a billion dollar venture fund in San Diego.
Having been burned by poor investments like most other venture funds, Clancy said that, going forward, Enterprise Partners would wait at least six months before funding any new company they met.
Their rationale was that during the six month period, they would see what the entrepreneur was able to accomplish. If the entrepreneur accomplished the
milestones set forth in their business plan, than they were deemed worthy and would receive funding. If not, they would not.
The rationale behind the strategy makes sense. Venture funds primarily invest in people, and those people with a proven track record are typically the best bets.
So what is the entrepreneur to do during the six months in order to get the investor to write them a check?
Obviously they need to achieve milestones... But what else?
Before I give you an answer, I want you to know how crucially important this is, not only in raising capital, but in securing key partnership and gaining key customers.
Let me give you an example of an entrepreneur who successfully used this technique in order to get a key partner. This entrepreneur is now a famous author and marketer. His name is Chet Holmes. And one of the key reasons that Mr. Holmes achieved success was through his partnership with marketing guru Jay Abraham.
How did Holmes get the partnership with Abraham? Like many people, he tried to reach him by phone, fax and mail. But Holmes did it every other week...
...FOR TWO YEARS!!!
Then, he finally got a call from Abraham's business manager for a lunch appointment, flew to Los Angeles for lunch, and established a very profitable partnership.
So, what's the answer to the question of how to woo investors, customers, partners, advisors, key hires, and more over six months?
Effective and persistent communications. In other words...
You must consistently, over a period of time, hammer home your message to investors, key customers and others.
What exactly does this mean? For investors, once you meet them, you should follow-up with them at least twice per month to update them on your progress. For prospective customers, you should contact them on an ongoing basis to continually give them value and convince them of the benefits
of working with you. And of course, don't forget to follow-up with your existing customers.
And a key here is that this follow-up should NEVER END unless or until the costs of the follow-up clearly outweigh the benefits.
Remember that people invest in, buy from, and partner with other people. So, who would you rather work with? Someone who has been contacting you for two years with quality messages regarding why you should partner with them, buy their product or invest in them? Or someone who you just met yesterday and tells you how great they are?
The answer is clear.
Don't stop at the first contact. Choose the appropriate frequency (i.e., you don't want to be perceived as too obnoxious or pushy to potential investors), craft quality messages, achieve your milestones, and convince investors and others to work with you over time.