Today I dropped by The Founder Insight Series, a weekly series of panels presented by Amanda Moskowitz of Stacklist.

Today’s discussion was focused around when to raise funding, and what to expect in 2023. The presenters were:

  • Jenny Fielding, Co-founder + Managing Partner at The Fund
  • Michael Cardamone, CEO & Managing Partner at Forum Ventures
  • Momo Bi, Partner at Watershed (launching soon!)
  • Moderator: Amanda Moskowitz, CEO of Stacklist

My best take-aways:

Don’t “show up and throw up.”

  • When presenting your pitch, be sensitive to whether the VCs want you to show your deck and speak from the slides, or have a more open conversation.
    • 8-10 slides and get through them in 10 minutes if it’s a half-hour meeting.
    • Leave at least half the meeting for Q&A because that’s where excitement can be built.
    • Ask investors if they want the deck first or not (they might want to pre-review).
  • Over-sharing is good, it builds confidence. Answer a pipeline question by opening the CRM in real-time, not glossing and asking for time to answer properly.
  • Ask if a fund has requirements about valuation, deal size, and whether they must (or must not) take the lead role.
  • Founders should make a carefully curated list of 75 well-qualified funds (appropriate by stage and sector) and come as close as possible to pitching them simultaneously. That way that the interest of one can be validated against the others.
  • Never follow up with an email that says “just following up.” Give additional news at every touch, even if it’s just the addition of a few prospects to the pipeline.
  • Valuations in Spring 2023 are around half what they were a year ago in early 2022.
  • Pipeline determines valuation. Don’t even think about pitching without a lot of deals in progress.