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Looking to raise capital? Send an executive summary. June 4, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in start-up, startup, startups, VC, Venture Capital.
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Rick Segal’s (a VC in Canada) recent post made me smile with recognition:

It’s around 2a in Toronto, midnight here in Edmonton. 260 summaries, plans, ideas, and virtual napkins are staring at me with an evil grin.

It can feel like it is hard to get a VC’s attention. I’d like to think that it isn’t because we’re bad people, and it isn’t because we’re lazy people. But we do get pitched a lot, and the ambient noise level is high. The quote above goes some way to explaining why a VC can’t give an hour to every entrepreneur who wants to meet. So what is the best way to break through the noise?

I agree with Venture Hacks’ advice on what to send an investor when they say:

Summary: An introduction captures an investor’s attention, but a great elevator pitch [executive summary] gets a meeting. The major components of the pitch are traction, product, and team.

Venture hacks goes on to advise on what not to send an investor, and I agree again:

Summary: Don’t send long business plans to investors. Don’t ask for NDAs. Don’t share information that must remain confidential.

So how do you write a good executive summary that can break through the noise? Garage.com has an excellent summary (italics mine):

The job of the executive summary is to sell, not to describe.

The executive summary is often your initial face to a potential investor, so it is critically important that you create the right first impression. Contrary to the advice in articles on the topic, you do not need to explain the entire business plan in 250 words. You need to convey its essence, and its energy. You have about 30 seconds to grab an investor’s interest. You want to be clear and compelling.

Garage.com breaks down the 9 elements of a good executive summary as follows:

1. The Grab
2. The Problem
3. The Solution
4. The Opportunity
5. Your Competitive Advantage
6. The Model
7. The Team
8. The Promise
9. The Ask

If you’re looking to raise capital, I suggest that you read the whole thing.

Comments»

1. nivi - June 4, 2008

Agreed.🙂

Thanks for the kind words.

2. mojbiznes.pl - June 10, 2008

Jak zwrócić owagę inwestora na swój pomysł?…

It can feel like it is hard to get a VC’s attention. I’d like to think that it isn’t because we’re bad people, and it isn’t because we’re lazy people. But we do get pitched a lot, and the ambient noise level is high. The quote above goes so…

3. How to capture your user value proposition « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - August 4, 2008

[…] In the past I’ve written about encapsulating your business plan for potential investors in an executive summary, or even more succinctly as a high concept startup pitch. This is helpful for communicating to […]

4. Softolio » How to capture your user value proposition - August 7, 2008

[…] the past I’ve written about encapsulating your business plan for potential investors in an executive summary, or even more succinctly as a high concept startup pitch. This is helpful for communicating to […]


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