Fund Raising is a lot like Job Searching
It’s a simple analogy that will help you understand the investor psyche and probably approach them better.
“Entrepreneur approaching investor” = “Job seekers approaching employers”
1) Investor decks = Resume
Thus, it does not matter how good your resume is written, the chances of an employer going through it in detail, understanding and trying to determine your employability is very low if submitted directly.
Some tips for making your resume/deck read
- Make a personalized cover note for each application
- Know about the company you are applying and the addressee
I am damn sure that as an entrepreneur you expect every job applicant to do the same to you, but as an entrepreneur when you are approaching an investor you can’t stop cribbing about the painfully long process the above is. #getreal #dowhatyouexpect
2) Referral is the best source of getting to an interview
Global logic applies everywhere. If my friend or the person I respect highly/professionally is referring a person for the job, that guy surely gets an interview invitation from me. Internal referral made by employees/funded companies of investors is equally good, and also has a very good chances of getting an interview time.
- The person referring you and how he refers matters for job or fund raising.
- Your salary hike / size of funding will definitely depend on it.
The other sources of landing up to your interview is getting known for your skills and featured on top. For example employers searching for pre-assessed talent on ‘Talent boards’ at Youth4work or the likes of events organized by YourStory, Nextbigwhat, TiE, and so on.
3) Industrial training and certificates help
Thus, justified the increase in employers looking to hire from institutes and training centres that helps enhance the skills and train them for the job and ironically, at the same time the increase of incubation centres etc. for startup founders.
Point to note:
- The job training centres/institutes which offer high probability of bagging a very good job are very expensive. Likewise a comparison is possible within incubation centres and seed investors (I will refrain from giving examples here).
Other methods like sending across resumes/decks to email ids in bulk are as good as an employer responding to all resumes applications that in his inbox.
There may be some consultants etc. that can help job seekers finding the right job but unfortunately finding the right consultants among the thousands of fraud consultancies is a challenge.
4) In an interview, what you say matters not what’s in your resume
In hundreds of interviews that I have taken, I have never made a decision to hire based on what is in the resume, similarly the investor will invest upon what you say and what you believe.
The confidence of the employee, relevant practical experience in the said job and the potential that he thinks he can achieve is what helps a job seeker get a job. Same will be the case for an entrepreneur to either get funded or not.
- The art of negotiating a salary is similar to valuing your startup. As a fresher/non-funded startup neither you nor the employer has any clue of what should be your starting pay. Your impression and the belief that you have is all that matters.
- In an interview saying that you already have an offer of x helps you get x+y salary. Use this wisely and know that the employer may just call your bluff if you intend to bluff.
5) Employers know the profile, experience and salaries they can afford
An investor already has a portfolio (already hired employees), interest in the area he wants to work (vision and expertise of the fund) and his fund size (maximum salaries that he can afford). Also, as an employer you may be unwilling to take freshers or inexperienced people in your company. The reality is if I as an employer could afford top tech guy with proven record and experience, why would I want to work with freshers, train them and take longer time in growing. Thus, there are very less chances of a VC fund investing in a seed round.
However, there are exceptions. Every company wants to hire interns and always keeps their eyes and ears open for them. If a bright intern (seed stage company) comes along and wants to work on something that has huge potential, I might be willing to spare a few dimes to afford him. Thus, chances of a seed stage company getting a VC fund is as good as a software developer getting an internship in Google.
Weigh your odds yourself, approach job seeking or fund raising keeping the above in mind.
My limited experience in recruitment space has made me sure that one of the core problems is identification and getting a reality check for both job seekers and employers. Employers have unrealistic expectations (especially Indian employers) offering very low salaries and expecting too much from an employee. On the other hand, job seekers have an unreasonable understanding of realities and their own value. Fresh pass-outs from college seeking their first job always start approaching all employers aggressively with very unrealistically high salary expectations. What this experience transcends to in the startup eco-system, I leave that to you.
Would love your comments on this.
About the author
He is the Founder and CEO of www.Youth4work.com , an innovative skills platform for those at the outset of their careers, to help assess and map their talent and join an expanding community, in preparation for their career journey. Follow him on twitter @rchtjn