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The 5 questions a venture captialist will ask you

Of course you need a sound idea you have pitched, you need a well structured Business Plan and an energetic team. That's just for starters. Then be ready for the 5 questions:
  1. How much: The king questions. Are you looking for a few thousand, some hundred thousands or will you suck in millions. Closely followed by when do you need the money. You won't need it all upfront.
  2. How long: It doesn't matter if it is a loan, a grant or venture capital. How long will the money be committed. The interesting point here are: when will the startup turn cashflow positive, so money is coming back and when will the investment be concluded.
  3. How risky: the majority of startups fail. While you are convinced that you will make it, the VC most likely has a more cynical realistic view. There are many reasons, so you need to have thought about them. Know your market and competitors well
  4. How to exit: What is your end-game? Will it be an IPO, will "Google|{insert-company-here} just knock and buy us"? (are there other options?)
  5. How to exit early: What is the earliest point to tell that it isn't working. This is an interesting and important point in time. The general rule is: try to fail early. Once you know it, you can save everybody's time and money. Plan the checkpoint well. If the culture you live in permits: wear the badge of early failure with pride
These are deep questions, that require sound answers. The answers need to be prepared in different granularity: the one word napkin answer up to the research backed dossier. The more money for the longer period you seek for a risky business the better prepared you need to be.

Posted by on 22 April 2011 | Comments (2) | categories: Business


  1. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Saturday 23 April 2011 AD:
    Hi John,
    thx for your comment. You are right, that's an important question too. However I would say that's a sub-question of How risky, but that's of course a question of perception.
    Emoticon smile.gif stw
  2. posted by John Turnbow on Saturday 23 April 2011 AD:
    One more question. Who is using your product now? Will those who are using your product give a good story about how your product helps them?

    If you don't at least have 1 it's an uphill climb.