Smart Little Things (Part I)

At Masthead, we meet with many entrepreneurs pitching us their startup for a potential investment. A lot has been written in the blogosphere recommending how to generally approach these meetings, so instead I thought it would be good to highlight some of the small smart things that I’ve seen entrepreneurs do outside the meat of these conversations. They aren’t the significant make or break actions, but rather little ones that I notice which were deliberate, conscious, and beneficial.

The first thing that struck me recently was two separate entrepreneurs who, at the end of their formal pitch while the conversation was transitioning to small talk, posed a simple question. Both of them casually asked if we knew anyone it would be helpful for them to speak to. They didn’t ask for an introduction to anyone specific, but rather just posed an open inquiry about an introduction to anyone that might be useful to their business. VCs are well-connected and well-networked people, and are often able to facilitate an introduction that could be helpful to a startup. I am not suggesting that an entrepreneur should be looking for a VC to open up their rolodex after just meeting them for the first couple times, but rather that it could be helpful inquiring if anybody immediately comes to mind – if delivered correctly. While nobody immediately emerged in the first instance described above, someone occurred to us in the second. And whether or not we end up funding the company, both entrepreneurs did a smart little thing in these cases.

I’ll post a few more soon.

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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