I've been approached by a partner at a large European VC (€150M Fund), he would like to have an intro chat. What should I do? Is this normal? What should my view be right now? They have recently invested in a company in the a similar vertical but not at all a competitor.
I would look to see what stage you're at as a start.
I've ben through this many times.
1. First study the VC and the partner
2. See what else he has invested in
3. They may be looking to round up their vertical with something similar or to acquire smaller players. If you're not a competitor, then anything is game.
4. Study when they invest and how
1. Set up the call.
2. Start the call by letting them talk a lot first. Ask: What is your mandate, sector? What do you invest in? What stage? What do you look for? What is the typical investment size? Where (geographically) do you invest?
This will tell you a lot about why they are reaching out and what you should say after.
Hit me up privately if you would like to discuss more, and good luck!!!
Make sure you research the partner and his company before agreeing to meet and decide before the meeting exactly what you want to disclose about your company and your products. Often these meetings are fishing expeditions to get market or competitive information as background for the firm's investment in another company.
I don't see what could be wrong with finding out what he wants. After all, just like a bank loaning "retail money", they have to find somewhere to invest their funds.
Do not assume this means any commitment whatsoever. It's just a chat.
Read 'Venture Deals 2nd Ed' by Feld to prepare - pound through it over a week if you're tight for time. A pdf is available online if you can't get the paper copy.
Over the years I was contacted several times by VCs. Before giving out any information, I would sort out who exactly you are talking to. Often the people who call are headhunters of sorts. They are "associates" who are trying to get info. on your business. They are happy to take as much information as you will give them quite frankly.
Either way, I would ask more questions than answer quite frankly. Why are they calling? What interest do they have in your company? What companies do they invest in? What is the minimum revenue a company must have for them to actually consider an investment and how firm is that number?
You may find that based on the answers to these questions, there is no point in you divulging any information about your company.
I found that early on, I felt somewhat romanticized by VCs calling only to find out the people calling me were low level "grunts" of sorts milking me for info. I was overeager to share info. about my company.
As time passed, however, I became much more careful about what I shared and I generally was the one vetting them more than they were vetting me.
Speak with him and divulge as much information as possible. This will force you to be more creative, exude confidence become an indispensable resource for future endeavors. If you are not willing to give away your ideas, your fears and insecurity will kill the growth of other new ideas.
Focus on your mission. Remember VCs = dilution*. Ultimately it's all about WHY you are building your business. As for myself, what I'd really want, is to be approached by a potential acquirer. Are you and your co-founders aligned as to why you are building the business? Do you have a proper exit strategy? I've gone through two successful exits (bootstrapped) that made my dreams come true. If you would like to know why you should have an exit strategy, happy to take your call. An exit strategy is the greatest value driver for a startup, a strategic exit is the greatest value creator for entrepreneurs. *http://RMentrepreneur.fyi.to/Dilution