What questions should I ask when I talk to venture capitalists and investors?

We often think what kind of questions investor will ask. But I think we should learn what question to ask the investor as well.


7 Jan, 2022

2 Answers

Wallace Ho


When approaching investors, here are some guidelines of questions and preparations when you talk to them:

  • Ask for money you get advice, as for advice you get money. So do not directly ask them to invest, get to know them better first.
  • To bear in mind, investors coming in your company is like getting married. You can't "divorce" just like that.
  • Therefore, you have to ensure your common/ultimate goals are aligned with them. You all do not have to agree on everything, but you have to have alignment towards the goals, especially on the exit at the end of the day.
  • Do enough research / due diligence on them. At least check on their
    • investment mandates,
    • investment stages,
    • industries they focus on,
    • ticket size of investment,
    • existing portfolio,
    • fund life span,
    • regions they focus on and etc.
  • It'd be best if they are the industry expert in your industry or they having sufficient knowledge in what you are doing. Checking their existing portfolio could help.
  • Kindly ask them to provide terms sheet especially if they are venture capitals. Most of the venture capital firms will prefer you to follow their terms sheet. If not, you have to prepare terms sheet from your side especially for angel investors.
  • Ensure that you know & understand what are:
    • terms sheet,
    • share holder agreement,
    • internal shareholder agreement,
    • convertible note / SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) / RCPS agreement (Redeemable Convertible Preferred Shares) / agreement for equity.
  • Get yourself familiar with some startup legal terms such as:
    • ordinary shares,
    • preference shares,
    • tag-along rights,
    • drag-along rights,
    • pro-rata dilution,
    • anti-dilution,
    • ESOP (employee stock options pool) and etc.
  • Ask them for advice such as,
    • what can be improved for your startup
    • what short-term and long-term support they can provide,
    • how do they usually help their startups,
    • can they bring you partners,
    • can they connect you with MNCs, governments,
    • can they connect you with venture capitals for further rounds
  • When they show more interest in your startup and expressing interest to invest, ask them what they see in your team and startup and why are they having interest.

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Kenneth Ho

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Ultimately you need to find out if you and them are a good fit. Think of it like dating - ask many questions.

Firstly, there is investment-fit:

  • Investment stage (seed / series A / etc)
  • Sector / vertical (A.I, Agriculture, Manufacturing, etc.)
  • Traction - Do you have the numbers they're looking for
  • Returns horizon - how soon do they need to exit / cash out? Can you reach there in time?

Secondly is the culture-fit:

  • Do you like them / their team / their values
  • Do they like you / your team / your culture

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