How To Pitch a VC
MICHAEL MORITZ, partner, Sequoia Capital
By Michael V. Copeland

(Business 2.0) – You were one of only two venture capitalists to take a chance on Google when its founders went looking for money. How does a startup get your attention?

To get funding, different or original ideas proposed by unusual people are sometimes better than simply good ideas proposed by smart people. Sergey Brin and Larry Page had no business plan and no immediate prospect of generating any revenue, but they had an original idea that made me want to listen further.

There is no hard-and-fast matrix that startups can follow to get Sequoia's attention. Factors like market size and intellectual property clearly play into our decisions, but there are no absolutes in the world of venture capital. The only thing that leaves me cold during a pitch from a startup is the use of the drop-dead words or phrases: "synergy," "no-brainer," and "slam dunk." That and the drop-dead fashion statement: Armani T-shirts, signet rings, and loafers with no socks. — M.V.C.