The VC Dozen: 12 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask Themselves

March 22nd, 2010

Last week, at the NJConnect Meetup in Princeton, guest speaker Joe Allegra (General Partner at Edison Venture Fund) discussed the topic, “Approaching Investors to Fund Your Company.”

In preparing his presentation, Allegra said he polled over 20 angel investors and venture capitalist friends, and asked them a simple question: “What are the things you dislike most when being pitched by an entrepreneur?”

Entrepreneurs take heed.  After compiling the responses, Allegra came up with the below checklist of questions that should be considered before your next funding meeting:

  • Do you have a grasp of competing products and companies?
  • Did you do your homework on the investors you are pitching?
  • Is your presentation complete and does it succinctly include the pertinent
    details? (Tip: your market, business model, competition, etc.)
  • Technology aside, can you explain what problem your product or service addresses? (Tip: What is the customer problem you are solving?)
  • Do you have realistic and/or complete financials? (Tip: don’t withhold or delay negative financials)
  • Have you clearly articulated your product/service’s differentiation?
  • Can you demonstrate your ability to sell? (Tip: entrepreneur should be comfortable selling)
  • Do you have traction in the marketplace? (Tip: provide a list of customers or beta users)
  • Are you open to feedback? (Tip: it’s one thing to be passionate and another to be defensive)
  • Are you realistic about strengths and weaknesses of your team?
  • Do you have realistic expectations of your valuation?
  • Are you plugged in? (Tip: leverage your network of professional services firms to make introductions)

Domenick Cilea

Domenick founded Springboard in 1995. When he is not working on marketing, PR, branding or content strategy, Domenick can be found in a gym, on the road or pool training to survive his next triathlon.

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