September 5th, 2018

How to make calls with us useful

Your time is your most important asset, so to make the most of calls or first meetings with Balderton we have a few recommendations of how to prepare in advance, things we've learned from looking at over 5,000 pitch decks a year.

1) Everyone at Balderton is a decision maker

Unlike many funds, we operate as a very equal investment team, with every team member involved in the decision process. While there are many angels and founders who suggest you should hold out to only speak to a partner with 30+ years of experience, talking early to even the most recent joiners of the team is just as important for us, so treat calls with junior investment team members like you would anyone else

2) Send the deck in advance

If you're going to use a deck to walk through, be sure to send it at least a day and ideally more in advance. Walking through new decks a slide at a time is one of the most inefficient ways of presenting a company, with people asking questions on slide 3 which will almost certainly be answered in slide 5. If you share a deck, investment memo or a spreadsheet in advance we will guarantee to read it and have a more productive conversation

3) Even better, share a recent investor update or board deck

We have 100s of conversations each year that are highly interesting, but we discover when digging into the metrics the company is unsuitable for Balderton's strategy. While we enjoy them, this is often a waste of the founders time. By sharing a recent investor update or board deck we can give you a much more quicker response on whether we are a relevant fund and discuss the real issues as we would if we were board members. It also gives you as a founder more insight into the value we could bring to the company on the issues you care about

4) Keep and share a FAQ to avoid repetitive questions

Everyone at Balderton has raised money themselves at some point in their career, and we know how repetitive that can be. While we hope to be original thinkers, we know that we will ask many questions you have heard before. During the fund raising process we recommend to all our companies they keep an FAQ, a list of questions and answers they often get asked, and share that in advance of the call with investors, to make sure the call is focussed on the new issues. not ones you have dealt with many times over

5) Share a demo or download link

As early investors we are obsessed with product, and we will endeavour to try the service before calls if we can. If you have a product that we can try or a video of the product in action, send that in advance

6) Don't bother with NDAs

There is plenty of literature on this, but it often needs repeating. We rely on the trust our companies place in us, without this we would be out of business very quickly. As a result we hold all information in confidence and in compliance with all data regulations. NDAs do not add much to this, and they rapidly slow down our process, as it isn't feasible to sign 5,000 a year. If you don't trust us to act professionally, it is better to look for other investors than to ask for an NDA

7) Make sure we do the prep work too

If you know there are common issues that investors have failed to understand about the business, send us your concerns in advance so we can spend sometime figuring it out and not waste the call asking 'stupid' questions

If you have any other questions or think we could add more to this list, feel free to let us know on james@balderton.com