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Jeff Richards is a Managing Partner at GGV Capital, a VC firm that has invested in the likes of Alibaba, Soundcloud and Square. Here is how you can get his attention.

1. Sell burgers to meat eaters

I often speak to entrepreneurs who explain that they have seen person ‘x’ or person ‘y’ within a specific VC firm and I’ll know immediately that they are not the right people. My response is that, “they don’t lead investments in your area.”

Part of the mistake some entrepreneurs make is that they say, “oh great, I got a meeting at a Tier 1 investor” but you want to make sure you’re meeting with the right person within that firm.

You should be meeting somebody who has a background in your space, has clearly been investing in your space and will therefore be inclined to like your story.

My advice to entrepreneurs is to sell burgers to meateaters.

Sell to people who are inclined to want to buy what you’re selling and to people who have shown an indication that they are interested in your area.

That just requires a little homework and research. You can also ask the first person you meet if this is right for them.

Some firms are terrific about this. Some partners, particularly the more experienced ones, will say, “I’m not the right guy for this area but you should speak to ‘x’ or ‘y’.

Right now, particularly in a hot market, everybody reads the tech blogs and thinks $15m Series A rounds are normal. But they’re not. Those are the outliers.

2. Adjust your pitch to the stage that you’re at

Right now in the market you have a lot of companies coming out of the seed stage of fundraising, looking to raise Series A and they don’t quite realise that there is a very different approach at each stage of fundraising.

The seed stage is different to the Series A, which is different to the Series B and so on.

What investors are looking for at each stage of fundraising is very different.

Spending time with your current investors, advisors or potential investors to get some feedback from them by saying. “In my specific sector or area, what do you typically look for in a Series A investment?”

Most investors will give you very clear guidelines in terms of things that they are looking for at each stage of fundraising.

You have to realize that at the seed stage of fundraising, for example, you’re really betting on a team, the market or an idea.

Whereas, by the time you’re pitching for a Series A investment, investors are looking for a little bit of traction and for the product to be working.

They are looking for a demonstration that the team is gelling and some proof points that the business is working.

Adjust your pitch to the stage that you’re at and get feedback from folks around you that you’re in the right mode and right frame of mind.

3. $15 million Series A rounds are outliers

I sometimes see entrepreneurs come in and say, “hey, we’re looking to raise a $15m Series A.”

A lot of investors will be turned off by that.

It’s an aggressive ask and despite what people read in TechCrunch, not every company is raising a $15m Series A.

Calibrating and coming in with modest expectations is a far better idea.

By offering a range and allowing them to feel comfortable with you and the idea shows that you have more realistic expectations.

If you come in asking for a $5-7 million Series A, and you have a lot of interest and you want to upsize that to $8-10 million, that’s great.

It’s better to do that then to come in, ask for a lot of money and then have to walk investors down.

Human psychology and human nature means that folks are less interested when you are walking them down.

Right now, particularly in a hot market, everybody reads the tech blogs and thinks $15m Series A rounds are normal. But they’re not. Those are the outliers.

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