How small founders can woo big-time investors

Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and the former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at [email protected]

Q. The numbers from our limited soft launch–we haven’t done any advertising or paid user acquisitions–are exciting for us, but they are not remarkable for potential investors who want to see big numbers. How do I explain our organic growth of a few users a day?

–Founder of a new company

Dear Founder,

Bluntly, a handful of new organic users a day is not going to get anyone excited. I’m sure there are many good reasons–including that you have not done any marketing. I would share your numbers, and the context. Explain that it was a very limited beta to test product and features and that you are pleased with the results so far–and why.

Also share what you’ve learned from the test launch and how it has been valuable beyond acquiring customers. What insights did you gain about the market and your technology? What does the next phase of a full launch look like and what are your goals?

Investors are looking for potential. They like to see early proof points done in a scrappy way, which if better funded could scale nicely. Remember, so much of what investors want is something that will grow quickly and big. Whatever your numbers are for big, add many more zeroes and see if you can see a path to that.

While it’s important to tell investors where you are, you should also talk about where you think this could go and why. Be sure to explain how they specifically could help you and why you selected them. Everyone loves to have a part in a breakout story.

Written by Investors Wallets

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