But if you have a unique product or concept, the outstanding skills in your team required to develop it, and are addressing a huge market opportunity then venture capital can be the best way to bring the money and the experience you will need to see-off well-funded competitors.
Before sending us a plan, please make sure you read the sections on where we invest and what we like to better understand what we are looking for in investment opportunities. Reading the section on how we work will give you a sense of what you can expect from us and whether we are the right partner for you.
The best possible way to get our attention is to be introduced by someone we know and respect. It is very difficult for us to evaluate a project when none of the people involved have any connection to us, our portfolio companies, or our network of professional relationships.
It therefore often makes sense for entrepreneurs to get to know us before seeking funds. We are easy to reach through our portfolio companies, our contacts and advisors, through blog discussions, and at events and conferences which we attend.
How We Decide
Our process is really a simple one. First we ask ourselves whether the investment opportunity and the business plan are attractive and plausible at face value - in other words, assuming we take everything the entrepreneur says for granted. Many plans do not meet this test, but if they do, we focus on assessing the claims, opportunities and risks that are presented by the team. Then if we are able to build a consensus among the partners to invest, we do.
How Long It Takes
Generally it takes about six weeks of work to make a final investment decision.
Why We Don’t Sign NDAs
We take confidentiality very seriously and have never shared any company’s confidential material with anyone outside our firm without their consent. Given the number of plans we come across, it would be virtually impossible for us to manage the web of NDAs that would result if we were to enter into NDAs every time we review a business plan. If an entrepreneur cannot provide us with a basis for evaluating an opportunity without signing an NDA, we will not consider it.
How to Format a Business Plan
The section on what we like should give you a good sense of what we are looking for in a plan.
Each topic in that section also includes a list of related questions that should be addressed in a plan. We do not usually need to see a 100 page business plan. Our preference is for plans that are concise and ideally limited to two dozen presentation slides or less which cover the essentials: product, market, business model, team, competition, product roadmap, technology, business development, and financial status.
When we cannot invest
We like investing in sectors we understand and know well. The selection of companies we have backed offers a good guide to what these are. However we cannot invest in businesses that directly compete with current investments in our portfolio.