AskAlex: Your Startup Strategy, Fundraising, Scaling, Financial Modeling, Marketing and Lifestyle Design Questions Answered D


Hey guys! I’m Alexander Jarvis, a nomad, startup founder, sometime VC and recovered M&A banker. In this series we’re going to answer a question real founders and investors are struggling with every day. They won’t be generic topics, they’ll be tricky things you need to know, from how to fix your business model, specific aspects of growth marketing, fundraising and pitching investors, to how you track your metrics (that VCs want to know!). I’ve been blogging for a few years at building epic founder tools and delving into complicated topics no one writes about. I love helping founders and podcasting is a fab new channel to share the one on mentoring I provide. #askalex


AskAlex: Your Startup Strategy, Fundraising, Scaling, Financial Modeling, Marketing and Lifestyle Design Questions Answered D navigateright Episode

AA 028: How founders should dress when pitching a VC your startup

Welcome to the 28th podcast of the Ask Alex show! Today the question is "How founders should dress when pitching a VC your startup." In this podcast, we deal with something you may yawn about, but you may also be stressed about. Dress code for pitching: Overdress or underdress? The dangers of undressing The perils of overdressing The importance of being authentic Why wearing a suit can be dangerous The safe bet is business casual The plus or minus 20% rule Some tips for women Thanks for Listening! To share your thoughts: Leave a note in the comment section below. Ask a question over on Ask Alex. Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. To help out the show: Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one. Subscribe on iTunes. Transcript Dress code. Really? You have so much stuff to deal with growing your company with like, no resources, and having to beg investors for cash to make the hires you need to close. Seriously, now we’re talking about fashion with VCs? Well, you’re reading this blog, aren’t you? ? Doing stupid things isn’t on your to-do list (hopefully). Don’t worry, we’re going to go through this in detail. And honestly, it’s pretty simple. Overdress or underdress? If you have a meeting lined up with an investor, you’re probably thinking about this in binary: is it better to overdress or underdress? That’s not the right question as it depends on your baseline. Mark Z clearly has a view of a casual baseline and that shizzle won’t fly if you are a financial, enterprise dweeb. You wouldn’t be caught in a hoody on a sick day. But sure, over or under? Pick one. You’re probably intuitively saying overdress rather than underdress. But that’s not quite right. Overdressing can imply that you are desperate to impress the investors and you may be portraying someone who is not you. In that case, you come across as inauthentic as you are not comfortable with yourself. Imagine wearing a suit two sizes too small and holding in your breath. You’re going to come across weird. Underdressing to the point of ambivalence implies you are lazy and don’t take the meeting, nor the investor seriously. You need to portray your business character in your dress code. It is imperative that you take that into consideration because you don’t want to start engaging your potential investor with a false start. Underdressing If your chat is quite normal, then you shouldn’t underdress. Your appearance can actually compensate a little ? A smooth, but not a super bright talker, that is well dressed creates a mini reality distortion field. Yes. I’m basically saying you can bulls*** your way to funding. I’ve seen it. My bet is the founders won’t get anywhere, but who knows. But let’s be honest, you want to get funded by hook or crook, right? You really only have downside looking like a hobo. Think about it. Have you ever heard of someone getting a job for looking fly, but I’m sure you can believe someone going to an interview and getting nixed for wearing shorts. Makes sense, right? VCs don’t really care about how you are dressed. But if you look like you’re too dumb to be aware you look ignorant, or that you don’t care, you’re making issues for yourself out of your own negligence. Shame on you. Suranga Chandratillake, a GP at Balderton Capital, advises against what one might think are extremes: There’s a low bar, but you probably shouldn’t wear shorts. In any given week I see people in T-shirts to suits, but suits and a tie are rare. Suranga is being a little polite, but he made the point I want you to internalise: Don’t be ignorant: Don’t wear shorts Don’t suit it and boot it unless it makes sense, to you Overdressing Underdressing is basically being ignorant. Do you know what though, overdressing is just… weird. A VC might take kids to a pantomime,