A few weeks ago, I walked out of a pitch meeting with an entrepreneur and the only thing I could think about was how to close this deal quickly and make sure that I scooped it from the competition. These meetings don’t come up that often but it is a great feeling when they do.
I then started thinking about what those WOW meetings are made of. It’s not easy to explain and I don’t think that there is a generic formula. It’s more about a combination of things, more an art than a science.
- It usually is not a structured, Power Point, kind of pitch but an exciting and very dynamic discussion.
- The entrepreneur is completely passionate about his project and communicates that passion.
- He knows his sector inside out, well aware of competition or alternative solutions.
- He is very smart and confident but not overly pushy.
- Obviously, it is a clear and clever solution to a real market need.
- The entrepreneur shows a certain level of independence leading us to believe that he is not desperate and will succeed with or without us.
In the middle of the meeting, I usually start thinking about how I can pitch Brightspark so that he accepts a term sheet as fast as possible. If the entrepreneur is really paying attention, he may even feel this change of mode, this sudden rise in interest. However, I have been a VC long enough to manage the poker face strategy!
My two partners and I experienced a WOW meeting this fall. We ended the meeting in this very typical neutral tone: “We will look into it and come back to you within 2 weeks”. We then walked out completely excited about it. During the 15 minutes drive from this meeting to our office, we had already finalized our investment strategy, valuation, terms, negotiation tactics, etc. The entrepreneurs that had just pitched us had no clue that we were that excited about the deal.
The greatest feeling is when the WOW effect lasts and turns into an investment. We see so many companies, ideas, and projects that although we may get excited about something, it may only last a day or two and then we move on to the next thing. The WOW meetings are the ones that truly maintain our interest and hopefully end up in our portfolio.
I can’t wait until the next WOW meeting!