by Vadim Slavin
Many folks ask us why we, as VC's, hold free office hours? After all, VC's have an agenda to meet only with those startups which have been singled out for a potential investment.
This is still true for us at StartupMonthly. However, we find a few more advantages to hold our office hours even for those teams which are not ready for funding from us. Other VC's out there - take notes.... The rest of the readers, skip to the end to see how to take advantage of this opportunity.
Giving back. StartupMonthly started out as an organization that helps young entrepreneurs. Our structured approach and distinguished track record is what created our community of thousand followers around the world. Keeping true to this charter, at least tangentially, helps us keep our following and groom the next generation of entrepreneurs. With enough help, they may be ready to make a difference in this world in the not too distant future. Giving back is not the best way to describe it - there is an agenda here. Still, it's a bit more fulfilling to know you're helping someone who is passionate enough to defy the odds and sacrifice themselves for the chance at their dreams.
Mentoring. It's inspiring to see so many different ideas and visionaries who are brave enough to do something about their ideas. Most of these folks need a little help. This is where we come in. We can help put structure around the amorphous entrepreneurship process with concrete steps to the one important milestone: being ready to accept funding to go all out and make it happen for real.
Credibility. Making a difference with a sound advice helps us establish our own credibility. Another reason for giving up our time for office hours is that it helps us find patterns in the sea of ideas, startups, and people... This makes us better VC's and helps us spot the diamonds in the rough early.
So this is the value of the office hours as we see it. The price for an entrepreneur is time and getting over the fact that we do not sign any non disclosure agreements (NDA's). This can be daunting for some first timers before they learn to properly build a business model around their ideas to better defend them. This is where we can help.
We do have an application process because we don't just meet with anyone. We want to see passion, serious disposition, solid foundation of the endeavor, and good homework prior to coming to us for help. Plain and simple, we want to see that 1) you are serious and 2) you are capable. How you get that across in your application process is up to you but here are a few hints.
Be succinct but precise in describing your idea. Simplicity goes a long way, especially to convey the mastery of your domain. Show that you are serious. Showcase your prior relevant track record and unique insight into your domain. Show your passion and the reason for it.
Come to think of it, these themes should be prevalent in your pitch to VC's in general: whether in a pitch deck, in an elevator or at one of the Startup Social events.
Good luck to you following your entrepreneurship dreams...and let us help!
Startup Monthly Team includes Software Architects, UX Designers, Legal, Financial, Lean Startup experts, Serial Entrepreneurs and Industry experts