Having regular office hours with entrepreneurs is something we’re really proud of doing here at EC1 Capital. Since we began it around 2 1/2 years ago, we have religiously stuck to it. We must have met over 350 teams since, yielding a number of investments.
We want to meet as many entrepreneurs as possible, get to know them and hopefully give something meaningful back to them. Most of the businesses we meet at office hours are too early for us to invest in, but we want to make sure that they will come back to us in the future showing progress. We prefer to “invest in lines, not dots” (a la Mark Suster).
Unfortunately just like everyone else we’re time pressured and can only give over 20 minutes to each startup we meet. Here’s how you can make the most of your time:
Make a great first impression: First impression counts a lot. Smiles, confidence, visible passion and punctuality go a long way. If you’ve read the book Blink, you will understand.
Be clear: You'll have done a good job in 20 minutes if you have convinced us that you are addressing a painful enough problem and you have a compelling solution for it.
Make it tangible: There are effective ways to quickly show us what and how you are doing eg. clear use cases, key metrics & KPIs etc. A quick demo also speaks a thousand words.
Come prepared: Come with a clear idea of what you want to get out of the session. If you want to pitch, have a concise pitch deck, follow Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font. If you just want a chat, come armed with a few issues or topics you want to discuss.
Research us and ask us questions: All the information you need is on our site, so find out about at what stage we invest and companies in our current portfolio. There may be synergies or similar themes! Leave enough time for us to ask you questions and equally feel free to question us eg. "who do you recommend we meet", "could any of your portfolio company be a customer?" etc. Don’t hesitate to take notes and write down the questions you get asked.
Convey your grand vision: We like to see founders who not only have a firm grasp on their immediate goals and KPIs, but be passionate about a broader longer term vision.
Relax: Lastly, be yourself. We don’t just want to find out about your venture, but you as people too.
Follow up: Hopefully office hours is only the start of a long term relationship so keep us posted on notable progress, milestones and achievements.