What do venture capitalists wish all entrepreneurs knew about getting funded? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
The most important thing when looking for funding is to partner with the right VC firm that fits your style and conviction as an entrepreneur. The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make when looking to raise money is to approach this process as an exchange of stock for money. Funding an entrepreneur and their company marks the beginning of a partnership that will typically run for seven to ten years. That's an important dynamic and if you only view it as a financial transaction you misunderstand and minimize the opportunity. My best advice is to approach VCs as 'bundles' of value that can provide advice, relationships, networks and experience. If you're considering a partnership with an investor, try to weigh up what you need and what they bring to the table - not just what it says on the term sheet. Identify VCs that you respect and who are knowledgeable about your field - people that would be powerful and motivating partners for you. And bear in mind that it's not just the VC firm you're signing up for, but more importantly, the individual partner leading the investment; it's your relationship with them that will be critical.
Once you've created your VC shortlist make sure you have a good story to share with them. Great storytelling is very important and it matters a lot in the funding process. It's on you to position your idea and your product in an inspiring, unique way that will resonate with the VCs and set you apart. Keep in mind that partners at good VC firms hear at least several pitches a week, so make sure your idea stands out from the crowd.
Finally, as you go through your fundraising process be mindful of who and how many VCs you speak to. If you share your story and your ideas too widely, there's always the danger your idea leaks and that you might inspire competition later down the road.
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