These are Forward Partners dealflow stats for the first four months of 2016
- 832 leads
- 47 first meetings (6% of leads)
- 8 second meetings (17% of first meetings)
- 2 deals (25% of second meetings)
We met an additional 53 companies at FP Office Hours. In some ways they are like first meetings and they do sometimes lead to deals, but they are only 15 minutes long and many of them are speculative in nature so I excluded them from the analysis.
I imagine other investors have a similar leads:meetings:deals ratios and the headline here is that it’s only once you’ve got to a second meeting that there’s a reasonable chance of getting investment, and even at that point it’s only 25%. Getting a first meeting is an achievement in itself which often makes it feel like the prospects of getting investment are better than they are, but that feeling can lead to dangerous complacency. The numbers say you need four second meetings and as many as 24 first meetings to have a good chance of a deal.
Raising money is best thought of as selling equity in your business, and the fundraising process is a sales process. Unless you have strong relationships it’s a numbers game.
If you do have strong relationships then it’s about how strong they really are – e.g. if you know investors well enough that you are in effect coming in at second meeting level then you only need 4.
The smartest founders have a strategy for their fundraising and build a plan which they execute with discipline. They know who their targets are and which investor is their favourite, and they make sure they have enough names in their pipeline.