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  • Aakash Shah

Why Conversations Work Better than Pitching.

Great startups sell themselves. If investors are interested, they’ll be the ones making the pitch to you.

Sell, just don’t “sell”.

Have you ever tried selling something to someone? Most of the time, the buyer can guess your agenda. They know you’re trying to sell them something, and they know you’ll benefit when they choose to buy it. Even if both parties benefit equally, the buyer still feels like he’s in the position of leverage. It’s just human psychology.

But, have you ever tried having a conversation with someone, where you have a specific motive or goal in mind, but don’t make it so obvious upfront? More importantly, have you ever just had an open dialogue with someone who you know can be beneficial to you in multiple ways (some of which you hadn’t even thought of) just to see what it can lead to? Someone who has the experience you want to access?

It’s a classic persuasion tactic. The less you try to push your agenda, the more intrigue you create in the other person. Sometimes, the less you push what you want, the easier it is to get. It’s about the subtle guidance, not the overt sell.

Try open-ended conversations, not closed-ended ones.

Well, that’s the platform we’ve built. NeonVest is the first Expert VC Network to exist. We strictly focus on connecting early-stage founders to experts in Venture Capital through real conversations, for more than just fundraising. We remove the investment bias from the equation.

Why? Because fundraising is too narrow-minded. The average VC invests in <1 % of companies they come across. If your only goal is to convince them of your pitch, >99% of the time you’ll only hear reasons for why the VC is not interested.

But, come on. That’s like saying, if I had one hour to spend with Bill Gates, I’d spend my entire time trying to convince him to put money in my water technology startup. Sure, it might be relevant to him, and it might be a great project. But even if I got his money, I’d still feel like it was a waste. Gates has an entire spectrum of useful thoughts and perspectives to offer — what does he think is the most exciting thing in water technology today? What are the major issues in water that no one is solving? What projects is he currently evaluating and compelled to invest in? How have similar projects he’s invested in performed? Who are the big investors in water, and can he make some intros for me? Does he have a contact at the World Bank that I can get in touch with? If I got him to like me, Gates would go out of his way to make some intros and provide me with tangible value, and maybe even become an informal advisor. That’s what the conversation should be about.

Experienced VCs have a lot to offer. More than just their chequebook.

VCs are the guardians of capital that fuel global innovation. They have a trove of information and nuggets of wisdom from all of the learnings and interactions they’ve had during their time evaluating deals, leading deals, and advising portfolio companies. They’ve probably seen tens, if not hundreds, of similar types of companies to yours. Why not leverage that information to make your own business better? Why should the conversation only be about fundraising and fake feedback?

In one call with a VC, imagine learning about how exactly to beat your competition. Learning about similar companies they’ve invested in before that failed and how you can avoid that catastrophic outcome. Finding out about the kinds of unit economics and growth rates are normal in your business, and how you stack up against them. Getting inside a potential investor’s mind, so you know exactly the types of questions they’ll ask, and the areas they’ll question. Benefitting from recommendations and referrals they’ll make for you to people in their network.

NeonVest connects you to investors who have spent the last 5 to 10 years investing in companies very similar to yours. Investors whose job it is to know exactly what is going on in the market you operate. Investors who have spent their professional lives building a wide, reputable and far-reaching network. Investors that are potential investors in your own company, and you have the ability to figure out exactly how their mind works.

The best part is, you don’t even need to pitch. Great startups sell themselves. Investors will get excited to participate. The game of fundraising has changed. You don’t need to formally tell an investor “this is a pitch”. All you need to do is tell them about your company. They’ll do the rest. If they’re interested, they’ll be the ones making the pitch to you.

Try out a connection. Sign up here.

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