7 Things an Entrepreneur Should Do When Approaching a VC

By Borja Martel Seward

Adam Draper, Draper University, Spring 2019

Adam, founder of BoostVC is an amazing human being. He spent his early youth days in Menlo Park, focusing on his tennis skills to become a professional. He then studied at UCLA and has been a huge Comic Book fan forever.

He’s son to one of the most important VCs in American History. His 33 year immersive program of being a Draper Family Member has prepared him for his life long mission; helping and aggregating all of the original thinkers, creative people and disruptors.

He loves people who take risks and learn from their mistakes; he claims to have achieved uncountable failures, from hiring and fundraising to any aspect of life. He’s only got 2 pairs of orange pants, is incredibly charismatic and an inflexion point person.

Adam is also an entrepreneur; he founded Xpert Financial, a Broker/Dealer company which gave him great experience in regulated markets.

After that, Adam felt like he wasn’t exploiting his best skills, starting and investing in companies, so he decided to create Boost, an equity crowdfunding platform.

After gaining enough experience, Boost quickly evolved into an accelerator. Their strengths were simple, they had startups and investors, the white elephant in the room had been discovered.

Today, Boost is one of the leading & cutting edge accelerators and seed funds in the world in the Crypto, Artificial Intelligence and Sci-Fi industries. They “Bring startups into the coolest basement in the world” and have backed 100+ Crypto companies, 70+ VR companies and many more across different sectors. Success stories at Boost are 2 exits and investments such as Coinbase, Polychain Capital, Cobalt, Favor and many others.

Breaking Status Quo

Adam is known for boosting new tech movements, focusing on the contrarian technology world and building deep roots in difficult to understand tech communities. He’s all into disruptive technologies that create a different future and ferocious, idealistic persons and entrepreneurs.

This is why he chose the Bitcoin ecosystem as a starting point for his investments. Today, he is one of the most important evangelizers of Bitcoin and Distributed Ledger Technologies.

Being a VC

Although it’s hard to believe, Venture Capitalists do have a business model. For the last 7 years, Boost has been iterating and reformulating their investment strategies backed by their continuous learning experiences.

In his opinion, VCs should look at the horizon and think deeply about what world they want to build into. Then, it’s just about investing capital into businesses that make that future come true.

On the other hand, it’s important to ask: 
What if it happens? What if this person succeeds?

As he recognizes, Capital is a solvable problem.

  • Conviction driven investors. Consensus is not a good way of running a fund or venture.

Being a Business, approaching a VC

Theres 7 things an entrepreneur needs to do when approaching a VC:

  1. Entrepreneurs need to know is what VCs are looking for. Make sure that you approach a VC that is looking to hear from a business like yours. In his case, it’s User Interface products!

  2. Make sure that your business is a Venture Scalabl Business. This means that you need to be solving a problem, getting paid to solve that problem and that the market is big enough. Make sure you get paid for your product!!

  3. Paint a picture of how the future is going to look. Find people and customers that support it and then reach the VC.

  4. Focus on what matters, which is nothing else than growing metrics!

  5. Don’t depend on others. VCs hate companies that depend on others.

  6. Make your business exponential growth friendly.

  7. Get ready to get rejected! Adam has 500+ rejections in his CV and that didn’t stop him from achieving anything he set himself to do!

Advice for Entrepreneurs:

Here’s a bit of advice from one of the greatest entrepreneur mentor and leader in the world.

  1. Be the Cockroach: In the beginning, all the odds are against you. Stay small while you discover what tools you’ll sweep the entire market with.

  2. Short Term vs Long Term: Short term luck is impossible to predict. On the other hand, long term is much easier to do. Think long term, try to predict the long term outcomes.

  3. Discover your fuel: Figure out what makes you wake up every morning and drives you to build your business. Where are you getting the energy from and how much of it do you have?

  4. Growth: Once you figure out how to grow, think how to grow 5X!

  5. Influences: You have lots of influences that are not you. Listen to YOU, YOUR feelings.

  6. Say Thank You

  7. Over and Undervalue: You overvalue what you can do in 1 year and undervalue what you can get in 10. Remember, long-term thinking.

  8. Luck and Winning: It’s all about who you surround yourself with. Spend time with positive and optimistic people and you’ll be fine!

  9. Rules: They are meant to be broken.

  10. Frameworks: They can help you rationalize the decision. Still, take irrational decisions.

  11. Elephants: Don’t chase them. You won’t be able to deliver.

  12. Investors: They are not technical people. They just think Macro. Be Macro when you spend time with them.

  13. Show Up: A great part of success is showing up and being in the spot when opportunities arise. Get in touch with investors!

  14. Insanity: Prepare for it if you’re planning to be an entrepreneur.

  15. Discrepancies: Make sure that you provide investors the information they are looking for and not what you think they are looking for.

  16. Who you are: How you spend 10 minute segments is who you are. Make sure you are what you want to be. If you are not, just quit what you’re doing.

  17. Pace: It’s all about it. For the first 2 years, you probably don’t know very well what’s going on. During that time, sacrifice everything to become a brand in the industry. After this, get ready for a marathon. It’s all about pace, being in the right mental state and driving the people harder.

  18. Humility: We’re just humans, on a rock, hurtling through space. We’re tiny and occupy an insignificant amount of time in the universe’s history. Be humble and you’ll achieve great things.

The Future:

Everyday, we’re getting deeper into a digital world. Make sure that your mindset is borderless and global.

We can’t predict the future, but we can think long term and create that future.

Scaling:

It’s all about timing. Know when to scale. While you’re discovering how to scale, survive!

Second, make sure that you scale your time. Increase productivity!

What Adam looks for:

Adam looks for a really interesting set of traits for investments. These are and are not limited to:

a. Rational People in Irrational Markets

b. Irrational People in Rational Markets

c. People with the capacity to build what they intend to

d. People with the experience in the market to build what they intend to

e. Big enough problem, big enough market

Extra Tips:

Some extra tips from Adam are:

a. Spend the time you need focusing on hiring.

b. CEO is first inventor, then product manager, then fundraiser and sales, then all they do is recruit.

c. Don’t spend much time doing corporate partnerships. They fail almost every time.

d. Charge 4x whatever your original number is.

e. The best businesses learn how to get 100,000 customers

f. Focus on brand building

g. Build your business 30% a month.

h. If you sell, you’ll achieve payroll.

i. Empires are built by smart people solving problems.

About the Drapers:

As Adam says, William Draper invests 100% in the person, Tim Draper invests 100% in the Market. While he’s still figuring out what his focus really is, what he can say is that he invests in weird people and persons that he’d hangout with that are trying to solve gigantic problems. Pitch the impossible! Because… What if it works?

About the Author:

Borja Martel Seward is a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum and former G20 YEA and B20 Argentine delegate. He is a technological and social entrepreneur and met cryptocurrency at the age of 14.

He is a centennial, dedicated to help change the world with the people ́s power. His current startup is Lucus, a Crypto Financial Ecosystem that gives ownership to its customers and creates social good.