Ever thought about rugby tackling an investor as they make their way off-stage after a keynote, wrestling them into a sack with your co-founder a la Borat/Pamela Anderson, and refusing to let them out until they’ve signed a term sheet? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Well, perhaps just a little bit.
But again we say, “don’t worry!” All you have to is follow the Hipsters, Hackers & Hustlers’ 5 step guide to networking like a boss. And not just any boss. Think Springsteen.
So show a little faith, there’s magic in the night, and strap your hands across our engines. We’ve got a chance to make it good somehow – hey, what else can we do now?
Step 1 – Identify the Target
Investors wear chinos and shirts. They have medium length hair (never styled a la Jonny footballer – that’s other desperate startup founders), and it has been combed. They hold their mobile phones in their hands, brandishing it like a weapon, ready to pretend-answer a fake phone call whenever the “Airbnb for dog food” sales guy gets too close.
Investors don’t ask questions – they may be wearing high performance sports shoes, in case they have to sprint from the venue, Benny Hill style, pursued by hipsters with startup logos on their T-shirts and PR girls with nails that can pierce rubber.
Step 2 – The Opening Gambit
“Gurrraagheughahhuhshawoddywoddy” isn’t a word. Don’t use it, even if you’re nervous. Don’t mention money, eating baked beans out of the can or discuss how much sleep you are getting. Do say things like, “not that it would interest a guy/girl like you”, or “I said to him you’re not leading the round until I’ve spoken to a VC that really gets it.” Keep your clothes on. At least for the first hour. Don’t talk with your mouth full.
Step 3 – The Elevator Pitch
Make it snappy. Bite them in the balls with a humdinger of a tag line. N.B. “It’s Tinder for cats” gets you into the boardroom of any Venture Capital firm, ever. Use this only as a last resource. Don’t waste words, or you’ll be made to eat them later. Stare into the middle distance, shake your head wistfully and say softly, “everyone tells me it could be a game changer”. Pretend you are wearing aviators when you say it, and there is a F16 Tomcat flying across a sunset over your head.
Step 4 – Obtain Contact Details
Photograph their LinkedIn profile. Make sure your camera is facing outwards, this is no time for a selfie. Pretend you don’t have a business card – it makes you seem mysterious/popular/an absent-minded genius, and honestly, who ever actually used a business card? If they are old (overweight, wearing a wig) use a pen. Sign your name. Across their heart.
Step 5 – Physically grapple with other founders / push them out of the way
It’s a jungle out there. Camo up if you must. Bad breath helps to effectively deter other founders, so drink the free beer and eat the pizza. Body odour is also an effective deterrent – if questioned about it by the investor, say it’s sweat equity.
Always be closing…unless you are standing by electric doors.
Ask the investor to call you then and there and pointedly wait until your phone begins to buzz, whilst staring accusingly at them as if they have tried to give you a wrong number. (N.B investors sometimes bring fake phones to networking events.)
Follow these steps and we absolutely guarantee* you will seal your seed round!
Keep on hustlin’
*guarantee subject to your idea being good, product having tonnes of traction, seed round already having 3 lead investors and most importantly, your company having absolutely no requirement whatsoever for further funding.