15 top tips for raising VC finance

It is a while since I wrote my book “Raising Venture Capital Finance in Europe: A practical guide for business owners, entrepreneurs and investors” published by Kogan Page in 2007. Nevertheless, my top tips for entrepreneurs raising venture capital finance are still as pertinent today as they were almost 15 years ago so I make no excuses for repeating them here.

My 15 VC tips

VC Tip #1

Assume nothing! Things may not be what they seem. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get feedback as you go through the venture capital raising process. 

VC Tip #2

Get good people around you in your team, well balanced in terms of their skills and roles.

VC Tip #3

Plan for the unexpected. Anticipate problems – know what is going to be critical as your company moves through its various growth stages.

VC Tip #4

Remember: “Cash is king” – take care to manage and control your cash resources with the utmost care.

VC Tip # 5

Be selective in which VCs you contact – avoid the scattergun approach! 

VC Tip #6

Get feedback on your business plan from one or two VCs before sending it to others on your list.

VC Tip #7

Practice your “elevator pitch”: 60 sec pitch about your business that anyone can understand. Must have a ‘hook’, USP and be delivered with passion and don’t’ forget to follow-up. 

VC Tip #8

Network vigorously with VCs and other potential sources of finance, follow up your contacts and keep your contacts live.

VC Tip #9

Write the business plan yourself – investors want to learn what you and your team are planning to do, not see how well others can write for you!

VC Tip #10

Go overboard on the marketing section of the plan: it’s often the most deficient part of the investment proposition.

VC Tip #11

Be patient: allow 6 to 9 months for the investment process.

VC Tip #12

Properly prepare for your presentation to the VCs: have roles for all present, work as a team, keep the presentation simple, anticipate questions, don’t bluff, and  rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! 

VC Tip #13

Be prepared to commit yourself financially when the VC invests – the time and money you have spent up to that point is not enough.

VC Tip #14

Keep your investors, bankers and advisers informed – they are there to help and do not like surprises!

VC Tip #15

Start planning the exit for you and your investors as soon as you have the investors on board, if not before.

Good luck! You really should be able to raise VC finance if you have the right ingredients in place and take professional advice as appropriate.

(The above 15 tips are extracted from “Raising Venture Capital Finance in Europe” by Keith Arundale, published by Kogan Page in 2007)