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How Many VC Firms Should a Startup Pitch?

Is it a good decision for a startup to apply for funding at as many as 10 to 20 venture capital firms? What do I need to consider?
Tim Berry answered April 12, 2011
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/222285
Your first objective should be to make sure you have an investment opportunity that will be of interest to venture capital firms. If your startup isn't scalable, defensible, have high growth potential, an experienced management team and a realistic exit strategy, then it most likely won't be considered an attractive investment. Be honest with your assessment.

Then consider what type of investor you need. These days, many startups seek a few hundred thousand dollars from angel investors first, leaving venture capital for later rounds.

Once you decide that venture capital is what your business needs, start pitching three or four firms. Make sure the firms have a demonstrated interest in your industry, your stage of company formation and your geographic area.

Work each of these meetings well, with proper introductions, a summary memo and follow-up emails. Broaden your search to additional firms only if what you've discovered from the first three or four gives you an indication that it will be worth the effort.

Related: The Voices of Venture Capital
Related: How to Find the Right Investor for Your Business
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software, which produces business-planning software,
He founded Bplans.com and wrote The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press. Berry is also a co-founder of HavePresence.com, a leader in a local angel-investment group and a judge of international business-plan competitions.