What is the Expert VC Program?
NeonVest's Expert VC Network is a platform for startups to have real, 1:1 conversations with investors at leading VCs and corporate VCs. It’s an enterprise platform to make networking more effective, and help founders seamlessly connect to relevant experts in their field, for real conversations, and real value.
Perhaps you want answers to questions like: How has COVID-19 changed investors’ views on what’s exciting in your sector? What terms should you be negotiating on, and which ones will come back to bite you two years down the line? What parts of your pitch should you improve upon, and how? What milestones do you need to hit before you go back out to market? Where should you source a full-stack engineer, and can you get a referral for one?…the possibilities are endless.
What is the purpose of these 1:1 conversations?
Anything you want. We encourage that our startups seek a goal outside of just fundraising. As an early-stage company, getting candid, quality and objective feedback on multiple aspects of your business from a qualified, potential investor, can be far more valuable than the funding you may receive. Our Expert VCs have evaluated hundreds of similar types of deals and know exactly what investors are finding compelling in your sector, giving you nuanced insights that few others can.
Who are our Expert VCs?
Predominantly, our Expert VCs are senior, experienced venture capital investors at established VC funds, corporate VC funds. We have a few individuals that represent well-reputed family offices and angel groups too. They are domain experts within their field, and have made it their business to establish a strong professional network within their domain. They represent sector specialists to the multi-billion dollar generalist funds; they represent strategic arms at banks to single family offices.
Why did you start the Expert VC Network?
We started the Expert VC Network because there was a clear gap in the market. In general, it’s hard for people to access experts in a given field, in an easy manner. Our goal here was to solve this problem for VC and startups, and branch out from there.
If you look at how it works today to speak to relevant investors – you will typically go through your existing direct network, for a referral to a particular individual. Maybe a 2nd or 3rd degree connection you haven’t met. Maybe you’ve seen that they’re attending a conference, and you buy a ticket to give yourself a chance to interact. Or maybe you just connect with them on LinkedIn or directly. The issue is that these channels are either limited – you simply can’t network your way to someone without a lot of effort – or they’re ineffective – no matter how many messages you send their way, you won’t receive a call. That’s because VCs have their own methods of operating, and typically don’t include this as part of their regulated schedule.
We’ve designed a solution that enables VCs to find curated, structured mentorship opportunities (via the Expert VC Network), while also providing them with a vetted deal flow solution (Investor Matching).
What’s in it for the Expert VCs?
Our Expert VCs are primarily motivated by having a structured way to see relevant deals, meeting smart entrepreneurs, and seeing what the latest innovations are in their sectors of interest. In addition, we have a couple of other perks for the VCs we onboard.
Can I pitch directly to the Expert VCs for fundraising?
The primary purpose of the Expert VC Network is for you to receive advice and feedback from experienced investors, specifically relevant for the nuances of your business, and grow your network. The Expert VCs are not looking to be pitched, and doing so may not be in your best interest. We encourage you to focus on the intangible benefits that you can extract from these conversations. You may be able to get far more than just capital – referrals to potential investors, clients, partners, nuanced insights on sales strategy and fundraising, optimization of your own pitch and what to emphasize. These intangibles, we would argue, will be far more valuable in making your business successful, than simply a check.
Having said that, our Expert VCs, by definition, are active investors that are constantly looking out for the next best company to invest in. If you impress them, this could lead to much more. So focus on that.
Why are conversations better than pitches?
Great question! Read our post blog here.
Why is this a monthly membership? Can I also get more on demand if I wanted to rather than restrict myself to a certain amount per month?
We’ve structured the Expert VC Network as a subscription product because it should be considered a routine part of your month. There are times when you may need multiple perspectives on the same issue, or an extended conversation within a short-time span. Maybe you want five a month. For that reason, we also allow people to book additional 1:1 Expert VC calls/meetings on demand.
Imagine getting 1 new expert every month, for the next 24 months (or more), to help you with your business. Not to mention, building relationships with people that matter. Good advice, at the right time, can go a long way. In addition, you have a network to tap into for a current or future fundraise. You’ll need to build the data and trajectory up before that’ll happen though. Read Mark Suster’s “Invest in Lines, not Dots” article for more information. The Expert VC program poises you perfectly in order to do that and provide investors with periodic updates.
Think of this as any other monthly membership plan. Hubspot, Salesforce. Netflix. Your Gym. The value you will get out of these conversations and building your network is non-linear, and doesn’t have diminishing returns. You never know when you might have that one conversation that takes you from Zero to One. Or from One to One Hundred. These conversations have a baseline return, with the optionality for massive returns.
What can I expect to get out of this?
Everyone gets something different out of this. The beauty of our Expert VC Network is that it is completely tailored to you. To your company, to your situation. No piece of advice is going to be the same. Here are three tangible things you can expect to get out of this tool, as you continue going through it:
Better decision-making on a variety of aspects of your business, to maximally optimize for success;
An extremely large and relevant network of VCs, Corporate VCs, Family Offices and Angels, within your sector;
Detailed understanding of macro dynamics in your sector, investors’ perspectives on your company, and how you can compel people to invest.
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Newton didn’t start from scratch. He utilized the knowledge of people who had done it before him, who were successful. Be like Newton.
For exceptional startups that quality, we also have Investor Matching.
When should I join?
As soon as you like. Our flexible monthly subscription plans allow you to sign-up and cancel at any time, without any monthly lock-in. So, if you’re unsure from a budgetary or value perspective, just try one out. We guarantee you won’t stop there though.
Do you have any case studies or testimonials from happy customers?
Yes. Take a look here.
How do you pair me with investors?
We provide an onboarding questionnaire for you to fill out which details the specifications you would like in the expert(s) you are paired with. Furthermore, we also have an understanding of your business profile and your specific criteria. Once that’s in place, our platform automatically determines which investors are the closest fit to your criteria, based on your investor preferences combined with our organic data. Then, our Investment Experts determine the perfect match against the set of potential investors. As you continue, we’ll continue getting better at matching you with investors, that specifically fit your needs.
Are you focused on specific niches or everyone?
We focus on early-stage, tech-oriented companies at pre-seed to Series A for Expert VC, across sectors. Typically, founders will be driven, motivated to enhance their company across areas, and the ability to pitch the company appropriately.
What is Investor Matching?
Our Investor Matching offering connects specific deals to our broader Investor Network, consisting of 300+ investor entities, and more than $120Bn in aggregate network AUM. These consist of the leading VC brands to the sector specialists, down the prominent family offices and angel investors.
We partner with select Accelerators and VCs to onboard companies to this platform directly. Otherwise, every company that goes through Expert VC is a potential fit.
If three or more Expert VCs rate your company as “investable” (as based on our metrics), then we add on Investor Matching at zero-cost to you. This is a way for our broader investor network to receive high-quality, strategic dealflow that has been vetted by fellow VCs.