Last year we provided some tips to help startups and entrepreneurs engage with VCs. Today, it’s more important than ever for founders to make the most out of every investor meeting and fundraising conversation.
While both traditional VCs and corporate VCs invest capital in startups in order to secure financial returns, corporate venture investing often includes an additional requirement: that the investment be strategically important to the corporation. This means that preparing for an initial meeting with a corporate VC is a slightly different process than a traditional VC.
Here are four questions to answer to make the most of your conversation with a CVC:
1. How does your company align with the corporation’s priorities?
Take some time to review the corporation’s website and check out recent initiatives and press releases. Then, do some research on the CVC. If it has its own website, what insight can you gain? Check out its other investments and think about how your company might fit. The CVC is probably helping the corporate expand into new areas, so how can an investment in your business help it get there faster?
2. What are other ways that the corporate supports startups beyond investment?
Verizon’s Partner Program and Innovation Program are just two of the many ways to partner with Verizon. Other CVCs have developer programs, credits and discounts for startups, hackathons, innovation centers, and more. Corporates are big ecosystems. Can your startup play in more than one way?
3. How is your startup strategically important to the corporation?
Next, identify how the corporation will benefit from investing in you, besides the financial return. Is there a business problem that your company could solve? Could your technology help build an adjacent business or a competitive advantage? Could your company disrupt the corporate’s core business model?
4. What do you hope to get out of the relationship, besides capital?
At Verizon, one way that we go beyond the capital investment is by providing valuable relationships: introducing key industry experts or Verizon decision makers to help you accelerate your business. Corporations have a suite of unique capabilities and resources. How can the corporate help you grow faster or scale better?
The way you prepare for your first meeting with a corporate VC should differ from how you prepare when meeting with a traditional VC, since there are often more aspects to consider. Having a thorough understanding of the activities and goals of the corporate VC will put you in the best position – and this can pay off in more ways than one.
Related posts from Verizon Ventures:
Top 5 Ways to Connect with VC's
Putting the Cart Before the Unicorn: Finding the Next Billion Dollar Startup is an Art, Not Science
Top 5 Locations for Verizon Ventures Portfolio Companies