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TK Kuegler, a venture capitalist from Wasabi Ventures, sat down for a Q&A to discuss his advice for startup companies looking to secure venture capitalist funding or perfect their elevator pitches. Snippets from the Q&A are below.

Q: What is the appropriate length for a pitch? 

A: I tell founders that if you can’t tell your full value story in two sentences than you probably have not nailed it yet. As far as a deck, 10 to 15 slides is the right length.

Q: When someone asks you to be an official advisor for their company, what do you consider in your decision?

A: Usually four things I consider.

  1. Do I like the person?
  2. Would I want to have a beer with them? Is he/she coachable?
  3. Do I think there is a snowball’s chance in hell of success?
  4. Am I an expert in the space they are attacking?

That is about it and in that order.

Q: What is the most effective way for a startup to advertise and market themselves in a large market like Seattle?

A: Wow… that is almost impossible to answer without a lot more data. But what I would say is that you should find avenues that have your target customers and try and get well known in those avenues.

Q: What advice do you have for a founder that is trying to build a business that has a two-sided market?

A: We have been a part of over 30 symbiotic marketplace startups. The key is that you have to build the side of the market that pays the money first. That is the difficult part in almost all cases. So for example, if you are building an ad network, get your advertisers first. Once you have advertisers committed you can get insane incentives to get quality supply-side people. Two-sided markets are tough but always chase the revenue part first.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about your job?

A: We hear over 120 pitches per week at Wasabi Ventures, so that is a lot of people telling their dreams. The hardest part is telling someone I think they are going to fail. Crushing a dream is never much fun.

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