Fundraising is an exercise in marketing, and understanding some basic principles will guide your process. We reveal insights from three climate tech VCs.
Most investors really aren’t the scary dragons we see on TV. In fact, we talked to three climate tech investors who were quite the opposite. In our recent webinar, each of our panelists: “Climate Tech Marketing to Investors,” shared their interest in getting to know founders and their teams to give as much value as they aim to receive from an investment.
Taj Ahmad Eldridge, General Partner & Co-founder of Include Venture Partners, with 20 years of experience as an investor, explains that he sees an investment as a two-way exchange of value.
“When I talk to founders or talk to fund managers, I say that I provide more than just capital. I’m providing the forces and the access to capital, access to customers, access to connections and access to culture. So all those things really impact my investment in you.”
He adds that it’s important to do your research on potential investors. For example, attend webinars and panels such as ours. Then, as Taj suggests, use platforms like NFX Signal, where you have access to deeper insights on their current portfolios and what sectors they’re actively investing in.
Vanessa Margolis, Portfolio Director at VertueLab, where she leads the entrepreneur support team, reassured our attendees that her focus as an investor is understanding your pitch.
“I really try to have as much compassion as possible because there is so much on the line for the person on the other side of the table. I’m not worried about confidence or nervousness, but I really want to walk away feeling like this person knows their stuff… You need to convey to them that this isn’t just a science project, that you understand that there’s a bigger picture at play,” Margolis says.
Judy Li, vice president at Energy Foundry, sees 750+ start-ups per year and recommends a strategy of connecting with potential investors outside of the active fundraising period. Once you have met an investor, keep them on your communications email list. Share quarterly updates that focus on key growth metrics, which can get the attention of an investor early, even when you’re not pitching.
“Having newsletters or emails that generally have updates is helpful — but no more than quarterly because you want to show progress between each newsletter and not feel like you’re inundating your readers. Keep an open line of communication and give us confidence that you’re able to push this forward,” Li says.
During our final Q&A period, each panelist showed high interest in getting to know founders and their teams, whether that was altogether at a pitch or separately through multiple discussions. It really comes down to the individual, and you can discover what works for your potential investor by attending panel discussions such as this one!
For the full conversation, check out the recorded session here.
Our next webinar: Building Your Winning Climate Tech Marketing Team, is 10 a.m. PT, Thurs., July 22, 2021. Register here; it’s free.
Author: Natasha Birdi is an intern for Alder & Co, and is preparing for a career in sustainability & climate action.