Seed Fundraising — How to get “Reservations” from Angel Investors
At the beginning of your seed fundraising process, you may have to wait several weeks for the first “yeses” from any investor. During this time, if you’re not getting any commitments your round can appear stagnant. Reservations from Angel investors can help solve this problem; as your round’s availability decreases it will put pressure on other investors to say yes.
Here’s how to secure the reservations:
Ask for Money
Most Angel investors turn down 90% of the meetings founders request, so if you get a meeting, you must directly ask if the investor is interested in investing.
1. Wait until 10 minutes before the end of the meeting, then ask if they have any questions. For example:
“That’s a quick overview of AcmeCorp — do you have any questions?”
2. When you’ve completed the questions and/or when there’s 5 minutes left, ask if they want to talk more about investing. For example:
“Does AcmeCorp fit within your investment thesis?”
“Is this investment something you might like to be a part of?”
“Would you be interested in investing in our current round?”
Ask Usual Check Size
If the investor expresses interest, the next step is to find out their usual check size. This will be an integral part of the reservation later.
1. After the investor expresses interest, ask about their investment process, as this will give you an idea of the time they take to make a decision, as well as their usual check size. For example:
“What’s your usual process for investments like this?”
2. If they don’t reveal their check size, you’ll have to ask directly. For example:
“What’s your usual check size for these investments?”
“What size of investment are you considering here?”
“Do you have a fixed amount you usually invest at this stage?”
Secure the Reservation
Once you know the investor’s potential check size and when they will decide (roughly), it’s time to secure the reservation.
1. If the investor’s check size, decision timeline, and other requirements fit with your plan, tell them you’d be open to having them involved. For example: “I’ve enjoyed our conversation and your approach seems to fit with our current raise”
2. Next, acknowledge they will need time (and perhaps further materials) to decide and ask for the reservation. This step is critical. For example:
“Should I hold that space for you while you’re deciding?”
“I will hold your spot, to give you some time to decide.”
“I usually hold space for investors while they’re in diligence, I’ll do the same for you.”
Once you’ve promised to reserve space for an investor, it would be wrong to give that space to another investor without fair warning. Thus, your round’s availability is reduced and all other potential investors start to feel the pinch of FOMO (fear of missing out). When new investors now ask for your fundraising status, you can respond with spoken for availability for example:
“We’re raising $500k and have 50% spoken for”
Practice these phrases before the meeting, and the early part of your seed fundraising will be much easier.
Thanks to Kaego Rust for her help on this article.
About Ash Rust
About the Alchemist Accelerator
Alchemist is a venture-backed initiative focused on accelerating the development of seed-stage ventures that monetize from enterprises (not consumers). The accelerator’s primary screening criteria is on teams, with primacy placed on having distinctive technical co-founders. We give companies around $36K, and run them through a structured 6-month program heavily focused on sales, customer development, and fundraising. Our backers include many of the top corporate and VC funds in the Valley — including Khosla Ventures, DFJ, Cisco, and Salesforce, among others. CB Insights has rated Alchemist the top program based on median funding rates of its grads (YC was #2), and Alchemist is perennially in the top of various Accelerator rankings. The accelerator seeds around 75 enterprise-monetizing ventures / year. Learn more about applying today.