Capital Pursuit

Be a Minimalist

When it comes to raising capital, “less is more” during an introductory meeting, at least in my experience. Be wary of overwhelming a potential investor with a hoard of detailed information about your work. Those carefully-crafted, data-heavy tables may be better suited for another meeting or a due diligence document. I have never met an investor who made a unilateral, favorable decision on a first meeting; I know plenty who have passed on an opportunity after listening to someone wander through a complex presentation deck.

Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.

Issac Newton

One reason why minimalism may be so important is that most investors, whether corporate or individual, are deeply interested in motivations. A lecture on the competitive landscape, for instance, becomes an obstacle to achieving that goal. What led you to build your company? If you are a fund manager, how has your thinking evolved over investment cycles? Your answers to these questions form a core, lingering impression with those who can change your commercial reality. Let them read the dossier about the board-of-directors after you leave the building.

Still another observation: You may be wasting precious time with extraneous details. Chances are that it took a lot of work to arrange the meeting. You may have travelled at great cost to make this discussion work in your favor. Be sure to use the opportunity to explain why your idea, strategy, or algorithm truly makes sense for those on the other side of the table. If they want to know about your human-resource policies or cybersecurity standards at this early juncture, they will ask.

Learn more at Fortune

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