People often asked how MavenHut, with three co-founders that nobody knew anything about in Ireland, managed to get a seed round so quick and so big (especially in terms of European investment levels). And I was having a hard time explaining it in short words, until I’ve found this: Be Investable.
The first thing you’ll notice about Graham’s essay is that it isn’t filled with tips or tricks for getting investor’s money. Rather, the best way to convince an investor to give you money is to actually be investable. Usually that starts with having a product with some amount of traction, but some people are investable even if they have no product. Usually those aren’t first-time founders though.
Basically, MavenHut was an easy sell (as far as looking for investment could be called easy). And that was because of one thing: we had traction. We had a product that was up and running, that was acquiring users, that told us (and the investors) things like demographics, buying intent, session length aso.
This means that before going to investors with “I have a great idea”, find a way to make it happen. Yes, I believe you can get investment with just an idea, but not the first time you try.
There are, obviously, other elements that help the investment process (the team, the industry, the type of investor targeted), but I think the most important thing you need to do is to Be Investable: make their decision as easy as possible.
P.S.: You would be surprised how many startup founders (or wanna be founders) don’t really grasp the concept of having something to show investors, other than “And I have this idea…”.