8 Ways to Get Venture Capital Attention from Guy Kawasaki

Guy KawasakiGuy Kawasaki was the Keynote Speaker at this week’s Elite Retreat. But thanks to the fact that there were 6 presenters and 20 participants in the room, we got the real treat of both listening to and interacting with him. He answered all of our questions as he interspersed comments on being a Technorati Top 100 Blogger, VC hits and misses, and being a stats junkie.

So let’s dispel one myth right away. Everything that Guy Kawasaki touches does not turn to gold. Rather, he openly admits that “If it’s gold, Guy will touch it”. 😀

One of the participants asked a great question about how to get his attention as a company seeking VC funding. So here are the secrets (in order of importance) straight from the source on how to get Guy to pay his Venture Capitalist attention to you :

  1. Do your homework.
    VC firms specialize in many various industries. Garage Technology Ventures focuses on software, services, clean technology, and material sciences. In the life sciences (or other) field? Don’t waste your time reading further. Find a different VC firm that specializes in your industry.
  2. Get introduced to Guy by a well established Corporate Finance Attorney
    Why? You will have already passed one tried and true “Bozo Filter”.
  3. Make sure you have had your business incorporated by same said Attorney
    Don’t use forms from OfficeMax or your relative who usually specializes in real estate law. (No offense meant to past employer Socrates.com or my own lawyer-father, both of whom I’ve used to incorporate past businesses. Good thing I’m not seeking funding!)
  4. If you are still in school or grad school and go to a name brand university, have your Department Head get in touch with Guy on your behalf.
    You (and the head of your department!) had better make darn sure that you have something impressive to put in front of Guy in the first place. As in, the school hasn’t seen this kind of innovation in years. Or ever.
  5. Have a CEO of a large company like Yahoo or Google company in a VC’s portfolio that’s doing well make an introduction for you.
  6. Guy realizes that many people don’t have these connections. His backup advice?
    Life is tough. Other people have made these connections. So can you, if you have an idea and company worth investing in.
  7. So let’s say you have none of these things. What do you do?
    You have one shot, three paragraphs, and there’s no room for bullshit.And you better have tried steps 1-6 first. Send Garage Technologies an email. Don’t you dare use the words “patent”, “our partner”, “conservative projections” or “hurry because other VC firms are interested” or bother with any of these other lies.

    DON’T send an attachment, don’t waste their time.

    DO have brand credentials, and you had better have paid attention to #1 (read his blog, know his company).

    You have three paragraphs to pitch your company, talking specifically about how what you do appeals to people. This isn’t just about you – this is the golden rule of “What’s in it for Them”.

  8. Above all else, if you have a blog, link to him first. (Ok, he didn’t say that, but I am).Guy luuuuuuuvs links. 😉

Update :: Once back home, Guy was able to put up a more detailed answer to our Elite Retreat question on VC funding here.

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  1. says

    Wendy – this is great stuff! I had the pleasure of seeing Guy at a StartupCamp he did in Quebec City awhile ago but it was not as personal a setting as Elite Retreat. Still, he’s an incredible speaker and there’s a ton to learn from him.

  2. says

    I highly recommend watching the movie Startup.com – It’s a good example of everything not to do in these kind of situations.

  3. says


    Thanks for the kind words. A point of clarification: What I said was not the CEO of Yahoo to call but the CEO of a company the VC’s portfolio–preferably one that’s doing well!



  4. Wendy Piersall says

    Sorry for the misquote, Guy – I fixed it up in the post! :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. says

    Yea, someone on digg made a good comment… if you have the CEO of Google or Yahoo, why would you need to get an introduction with Guy. But since Guy is reading this, I want him to know, that no matter how “big” or famous I get, I’ll always have time for him! 😉

  6. bystand says

    how about getting attention from him for big ideas in comment sections of blogs? i got a sure thing…

  7. says

    Here’s the best idea.

    Have a killer idea. Create a prototype that excites a significant customer with money.

    Niche product, mass-market product, doesn’t matter.

    Stay laser-focused on solving a meaningful customer problem in a distinctive, compelling way.

    Let all of the top tier VCs line up at your door.

    Wave at Guy’s shop at the rear of the line.

    Then laugh as you take a few rounds of angel funding (tops) so you can maintain control over your baby instead of handing it over to some sharks.

    Capitalization isn’t job one, kids. Honey attracts money, you should be able to choose who you take money from.

    That said, have a good pitch. It’s always useful.

  8. Kyle says

    Saw this guy speak at the National Youth Leadership Fourm on Technology. A very fun and active speaker, especially considering he talked about “How to Make a Good Presentation.” It was great.

  9. John C. Randolph says

    No room for bullshit? Are you kidding? Guy invested in Filmloop.com, for Pete’s sake!


  10. says

    Congratulations Wendy. Looks like you hit the front page of Digg this evening (Not sure if you have in the past, but congratulations none the less). Had a chance to catch Guy’s presentation as well, still hoping he’ll send me Moonbeam’s contact info.


  11. says

    My goodness Wendy! My 2nd day over here and you have this now!? I don’t know how you are going to keep upping yourself with this content, it’s fantastic! Thanks for the great input, I found his blog recently as well and love it. Good to know a little more about him.

    Have a great weekend Wendy, thanks for teh MBL comment btw as well!

  12. says

    Nice post. Guy does invest in some flops though. He has so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it. I had a similar problem but I invested it in property.

  13. Nathaniel says

    I think that the fifth point:

    “Have a CEO of a large company like Yahoo or Google company in a VC’s portfolio that’s doing well make an introduction for you.”

    Really goes to show the power that networking can bring to the table.

  14. says

    whoops accidentally posted this on the wrong blgo post so here it is on the right one.

    Some good advice for those looking for VC. The biggest thing i always say when it comes to VC have your ducks in a row and dont be afraid to show your true side which is usually a passion for what you are bringing forth.

  15. says

    Great advice! Great summary! And I love Guy Kawasaki’s writing & talks (though I don’t always agree with his observations). I only read this post because it was about stuff that Guy Kawasaki. Oddly I am one of those few people with a startup software development company that is not seeking VC funding any kind.

  16. says

    He had some really good points. Everyone looks at pro bloggers like no matter what they do its all gold its nice to hear someone who doesn’t boost that opinon

  17. says

    Hi Wendy – Thanks for posting this information. I make a habit of checking out Guy’s blog since I have a small startup business myself. I’m a Career Coach and what really interests me is the application of the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ as it relates to one’s career. Just as Guy mentions above: 1) Do your homework (know your organization and it’s competition) 2) Network (get out and meet people, don’t hang in your cube in front of your computer all day – get visible) 3)Have a stong pitch (be able to tell an employer what you will do/bring to them and back it up with result statements – stick with the ‘What’s In It For Them’ rule).

    I think if more people would bring the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ to their career activities they would find more passion in what they do. In my business, our philosophy is ‘Dig What You Do’ and this mindset is a pathway.

    Thanks for all the great info. in your blog.

    Robin Ogden

  18. Oswald says

    Nice article Wendy and networking is one of the most important factor to consider but what I am missing is the killing business idea to attract venture capitalists. “Niche and you get rich” – an old and surely true saying that is fundamental for each new entreprise.

  19. says

    Wendy – Great article, especially since I just read about Guy’s non-VC startup site Truemors. I laughed out loud at the comments from people who I can only describe as ‘poor losers’. Thanks for hosting Guy and thanks for your great efforts.


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