VCs are meeting with up to 80 founders a month but for less time

  • VCs are reviewing pitches more quickly and taking shorter meetings with founders, DocSend says.
  • Founders are also pitching more investors at once to gain momentum in their fundraising.
  • As competition grows, VCs are looking at more deals and making quicker decisions to keep up.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Venture capitalists are looking for startups at a frantic pace as they face mounting pressure to clinch deals. But they’re scrolling through pitches faster and spending less time in meetings with founders.

Those are some of the things that DocSend has gleaned from analyzing how investors are interacting with pitch decks.

Kyle Lui, a partner at the venture firm DCM and one of DocSend’s board members, told Insider he took more than twice as many meetings with founders as he did before the pandemic. He estimated that he met with about 60 to 80 entrepreneurs a month, versus 20 to 30 a year ago.

Lui has also cut those meeting times in half, to 30 minutes from an hour. Certain details, like a startup’s financial projections, have become skippable in those initial discussions, he said in an email.

Investors are also more willing to consider cold pitches, DocSend CEO Russ Heddleston told Insider, and that’s showing up in their higher engagement with pitch decks. For founders, it means that more than ever, a PowerPoint presentation can make or break their fundraising efforts, he added.

“It certainly puts more pressure on the deck itself and how a founder shows up in that,” he said.

Moreover, venture capitalists are spending less time with each pitch deck than they were a year ago, according to DocSend. That fits in with a broader trend of investors making decisions on investments more quickly.

DocSend’s data also suggested that founders were sending out their pitch decks to a wider group of investors than they were a year ago, the company said — a factor that has fueled increased competition for deals.

Pitching more investors at once is a smarter strategy for founders seeking to build momentum for their funding round, according to Heddleston.

“That’s the deal dynamic,” he said. “You want to batch up all of those meetings.”

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