How to prepare for a call with VC?

Ilya Eremeyev
5 min readFeb 10, 2023

You created your perfect fundraising pitch deck, sent it to VCs, and now they want to talk to you. Fantastic!

So, what’s happening on an average intro call with a VC, and how to prepare for it?

Typical founders fundraise 1–3 times in their life, each time talking to 10–30 investors. The average investor talks to about 3–5 companies daily, with hundreds of intro meetings a year. Unsurprisingly, first-time founders could feel nervous about the meeting, not knowing what to expect from the call.

Especially if they are raising for the first time. But it should not be like that!

So I want to help here. Over the last five years, we invested in 35 companies in our previous fund and already in 17 from The Games Fund.

I analyzed our calls and collected info from our portfolio companies who were talking to various VCs at some point, and here is our experience:

Please note, The Games Fund invests in Video Games companies, so some questions are game industry-specific, but you will get the idea.

Make sure to check the profile of the fund you are talking to. Check their website, CrunchBase, LinkedIn, and portfolio. Understand what kind of companies they fund. Have context.

Most commonly, you will talk to the investment manager on your first call and later with the partner.

Usually, the intro call takes about 1 hour, but it is worth asking how much time we have for this call.

Questions could be asked during the pitch or after it. We prefer questions to investors right after our intro and questions to founders after the pitch.

Sometimes investors could politely interrupt you and ask to elaborate on particular topics and give them more details. How exactly will matchmaking be designed? Or how would gear affect the player’s power and efficiency in the game? Or how long is the average match?

Investors expect founders to have a solid understanding of the game’s core pillars. Still, it is ok to say that to answer this specific question, you will need to bring on your Lead Designer or CTO — you can provide that information in a follow-up email or set up another call with your core team to have a deep dive into details.

The usual call structure is as follows:

  1. Investor intro (5–10 min): Investors briefly present themselves, describing their background, strategy, and what kind of opportunities they are looking for.
  2. Founders intro and pitch (20–30 min). Founders present the investment opportunity. Not themselves. Not the game. The investment opportunity that is worth investing in, while the founders’ background, the game concept, budget, market analysis, and everything else should support this sales pitch.
  3. Questions and discussion (20–30 min, but sometimes up to 2 hours!)

Remember that you are also expected to ask questions to investors if you’d like to.

What investors could ask:

  1. Why is your game different? What is your USP? What are other companies missing that you understand and can do right? How will you convince players to try this game?
  2. What would be the initial functional and content scope when you launch the game in beta or soft launch?
  3. What could be the short-, mid-, and long-term goals for players?
  4. How will you measure the soft launch results? Do you have any specific KPIs in mind?
  5. How big is the niche for this game? Who are your main competitors, and how are they doing?
  6. What is your hiring strategy? Are any pre-commitments ready to join you when you get the funding?
  7. Where are you based? Do you have an office or work remotely?
  8. Is your company subject to government or-non government grants or tax relief programs?
  9. What is your burn rate? How much runway do you have now? What is your expected burn rate and runway after this round?
  10. What would we have when you spend all the money from this round? What will be our next step? Next round, or going to break even?
  11. When did you start your fundraising? Any commitments yet? How do you see the perfect round composition?
  12. What is your expected valuation? Can you justify it? What was your valuation at the previous round?
  13. What do you expect from your partners/investors besides capital? What do you not want? How could investors help you in your journey?
  14. What is your long-term plan for the company? Do you want to sell it at some point or focus on dividends?
  15. What is your favorite game? Why? What do you think about the current market as a consumer?
  16. What are the major challenges for this venture? What could go wrong?
  17. When we succeed, how big could it be? What is your grand vision?

What you can ask investors:

  1. What is their source of capital?
  2. How do they work with their portfolio companies? Do they practice a hands-on approach or prefer not to participate in day-to-day activities?
  3. What is their long-term strategy (Basically, why do they invest? Dividends, exit, or strategic interest and potential acquisition down the road?)
  4. What are their check size, preferred stage, and genres? Do they lead or not? Do they participate in follow on rounds?
  5. What is the stage of the fund? If the fund is at the beginning of its lifecycle, it could invest more aggressively and make longer shots as they have more time. The closer they are to the end of their fund, the more cautious they will be. And it also would affect their expectation for the exit timeline.
  6. Do they play games? What kind of games? What do they do and do not like in games?
  7. What do they think about future trends and challenges?
  8. What will they do if a crisis happens?
  9. What are they looking for and value in companies and in founders? What are their red flags? (you can find ours here)
  10. What does their decision-making process look like? How much time does it take? How much time the whole deal usually takes?
  11. Who will you be dealing with after the deal closing?
  12. What is their best investment so far?

Investors are people, and you will deal with people, not abstract corporations. It is crucial to understand if it is a fit.

So, what happens after that?

Usually, the evaluation process takes 1 to 4 weeks and could include multiple interviews and requests.

You could be asked to provide additional information: company budget, hiring plan, extended presentation, data room, design documentation, go-to-market strategy, PnL, etc. (you can find our templates here). There could be a request to have another call with your leadership team. You could be asked for references from your previous colleagues.

Do not be afraid to share information. Do not ask to sign NDA. Do not breach the NDAs you’ve signed. It might feel uncomfortable, but nobody is stealing ideas, and your power is in execution and ability to generate new ideas. And nobody should be forcing you to disclose information you legally or morally can’t.

We also felt that when we were fundraising and pitching our fund to potential investors. And we have over 40 investors who said yes, so you can imagine how many pitches we’ve made. And some people were dishonest, had no intention to invest and just collected information from us. Yes, it doesn’t feel nice. But it does not matter. What matters is to be honest and transparent.

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