“I pitched 200 VCs in 10 months before I closed the round”

I had the pleasure of meeting Sanjay Parekh a month or so ago, and I knew I had to share his story on The Startup Foundry. In this interview, Sanjay talks about how he pitched 200 Venture Capitalists in 10 months to secure funding for his startup. This 7 minute video is chalked full of great advice for startups raising money. Sanjay talks about the “highs” and the “lows” of entrepreneurship and lessons he has learned along the way. If you’re unable to view the video, I’ve included text highlights below.

1. Slides changed dramatically after 10-15 pitches. The first several pitches helped Sanjay truly understand what he was pitching.

2. Pay attention to the questions VCs are asking to learn what you need to improve on. If the same questions are brought up over and over again, you must improve that part of your pitch.

3. Raising money can take a while. If you’re going to commit, be in it for the long haul.

4. Understand why they said “no”, and learn from it.

5. A VC had to pull out because they didn’t have the cash. Sometimes crappy things happen to you that are out of your control. Keep pushing forward.

6. Raising money is hard work. Raising $41 million before you have any customers is the exception, not the rule.

7. There is really bad times, and really high times. Entrepreneurship is a bipolar existence.

8. You have a responsibility to your employees to keep pushing (even when you’re discouraged).

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  • Neofliplay

    Awesome story Sanjay! Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      Be sure to check back for part 2 where Sanjay talks about how to polish your pitch!

    • No problem – glad it was useful and hopefully interesting as well,

      • Can I ask you where are you based? SV?

        • Sure. Back when I was doing the startup and even now, I’ve been based in the metro Atlanta area. Don’t believe the hype – there is life outside of the valley.

          In fact, we had a very early offer (before we did the round I described in this video) to move to the valley and raise $10m at a ridiculous valuation. But none of us (three co-founders) wanted to move and the overhead expense out there was insane. For example – in Atlanta rent per square foot is $12 or so per ft^2 per year. In the valley the price is the same – except they quote per *month*. So you’re paying 12X for office space. Have you ever heard of a company that was acquired for more money because they had expensive office space? Yeah, me neither.

          • Anonymous

            Did you have a hard time pulling in quality engineering talent?

          • Absolutely not. Hired from local and the region. Some of the guys that I hired straight out of college still work there in fact.

            The Atlanta metro has an immense amount of colleges and thus a large number of college graduates. A large number of our grads leave to take jobs elsewhere but that’s because the job growth here can’t support the number graduating each year. So supply locally is greater than demand which means as an employer, I get a better pick of applicants rather than having to fight for people or scrape the bottom of the barrel.

            My thoughts on hiring run a bit counter to what others perceive as the “normal” for startups. Perhaps this should be an article that I write at some point.

  • Prakhar

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Sanjay!

  • That’s pretty insane! Persistence and iteration really is the key to business success! Great interview, thanks for sharing!

  • Great post! I appreciated the determination of Mr. Sanjay Parekh. He is a great entrepreneur! Ispiring for me as strartupper!

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  • Dene Sarrette

    This reminds me of Parinello’s book, “Selling to Vito,” with regard to pitching strategies. Great post!