Every CEO with a Series B coming up in the next 6-12 months would be wise to use this post from Jeff Bussgang (General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, formerly known as IDG Ventures) as the ‘roadmap’ for his or her actions. Instead of learning what VCs will require from trial end error, using Jeff’s roadmap would allow a CEO to provide — on their first Series B presentation — exactly what the VC expects. And rather than waiting until the Series B time arrives, the CEO should today put a list on the wall of Jeff’s required items; then put together an action plan to obtain each item over the next six months.
Preparing a company for a Series B (which I’ve done a number of times, often in the role of interim CEO / COO) reminds me of preparing for a ‘phase review’ when I was a product manager years ago. Though some people dreaded preparing for such a phase review, I found that — if my product development program (including the go-to-market component) was under control — then providing all the data requested at a phase review was not difficult.
Similarly, for a start-up company, the data Jeff says is required for a Series B is really the data you should normally have to operate the business in the Series A phase: an accurate sales pipeline; customer references; a product road map; financial projections; market analysis / potential, etc. are really all things that should be part of your normal operations. If that’s the case, then pulling together the Series B package will be a reasonable process.
If you’re a CEO facing a Series B in the next year save yourself a lot of pain and heartache and follow Jeff’s advice.