1. The Executive Summary
I often get inquiries about getting involved in early stage companies here and around the country.
The beginning point to discussing a startup the Executive Summary of the company, which lays out the key facts about a startup in 1-2 pages. But I’ve noticed that in L.A. it’s the exception rather than the norm, people want to meet first. Real investors don’t usually work that way.
The Executive Summary is CRITICAL to getting prospective investors excited. Without it you have little chance of getting the next step – a meeting to discuss the project and funding, more team members, more ecosystem. It’s a key qualifier as a serious player in the startup world. You hardly ever see a Silicon Valley startup without one, no matter how early stage.
The pitch deck has replaced it lately, but that takes more time to read and it’s harder to find the key info quickly. (One exception to this is the deck Hank Cho sent me; one of the best I’ve seen in a while.)
So google “Executive Summary”, look at several and put one one together. Send it to me and I’ll critique it for you. Make it less words, more impact, numbers, facts, the team.
It will also show where your holes are.
1. Let’s Loosen Up
The current startup scene combined with our poor economic/job situation is causing many people to panic a bit. It’s understandable, but if it transfers to your persona as a startuper, it won’t help. Many people I meet are very rigid, look a little scared but fake a smile, unable to open themselves to criticism. This doesn’t get investors excited.
Sometimes a 20-30% change or add to your business can make a major difference. Not a complete pivot, that implies 90-180 degree change, but be open to suggestions by those who’ve been there before. Maybe change your name, change your graphics(!), merge/acquire/acq-hire, drop yours for another better one.
Let go of your ego, let go of some equity.
The goal is to build long term sustainable businesses and revenue streams. Add smart people to your circle for the bigger good of the company. Loosen up, smile, have fun. But make some money for everyone involved. Be better.