From a dinosaur in a tutu to getting (really) personal, these pitches left an impression.
5 min read
We asked eight of the entrepreneurs featured on our 100 Powerful Women list: You’re an investor — what’s the most memorable thing a founder did to win you over?
“Emily Weiss of Glossier walked into our first meeting with a wealth of knowledge and learnings from her blog, Into the Gloss, and used those insights to paint a picture of what not-so-obvious unmet needs existed in the industry and how her company would address them. A critical piece of any successful retail business is building a solution, and Emily was ready to bring much-needed value to eager shoppers.” — Kirsten Green; Founding partner (right, with Eurie Kim, general partner, left), Forerunner Ventures, an early-stage VC firm
“One of the most unique follow-ups to a pitch was from Sarah Robinson of The Wonder, a family-friendly club and play space. She sent a dinosaur — a person dressed as a dinosaur — wearing a tutu to visit the office of a potential investor we were pitching, which was both memorable and on-brand, as it provided the investor with a true taste of The Wonder.” — Anu Duggal; Founding partner, Female Founders Fund, a women-focused early-stage fund
“In 2016, we hosted a pitch day in Los Angeles featuring early-stage companies led by women. One was Tamara Mellon, the eponymous D2C luxury footwear brand from the cofounder of Jimmy Choo. Tamara herself arrived well ahead of the start time pushing two carts loaded with gorgeous shoes to set up a display. At one point she was on hands and knees, meticulously arranging them. That’s when we knew: She was all in.” — Kara Weber; Cofounder (right, with Lizzie Francis, cofounder, left), Brilliant Ventures, a VC fund focused on women-founded businesses
“One of my most successful founders — Gregg Renfrew, CEO of Beautycounter — did not send me the deck or ask for a meeting. Instead, she invited me to a launch event. I saw her passion and the enthusiasm of all the people in the room. It made me want to invest right away. As a counter, the most memorable turnoff was a founder who called my cell and said, ‘I am in your building; can I come up and meet?’ I found that a little too aggressive.” — Tracy Chadwell; Founding partner, 1843 Capital, an early-stage fund focused on tech companies with diverse founders
“Rachel Drori of Daily Harvest was pregnant with her second child when we first met her, still making the smoothies herself in a commercial kitchen and running all over to meet investors. Many men we spoke with underestimated a woman at that stage in her life, but as two mothers, we could see that Rachel had a raw ambition and was doing whatever it took to win.” — Amanda Eilian; Cofounder (left, with Lisa Blau, cofounder, right), Able Partners, an early-stage fund supporting healthy living
“One entrepreneur so effectively leveraged and demonstrated the diversity of her team in her pitch that, as an investor, we were able to instantly see that we weren’t just investing in a terrific CEO and business, but a strong team and a leader who valued complementary skills.” — Jenny Abramson; Founder and managing partner, Rethink Impact, a VC firm that supports female tech founders
“Many founders know the problem they are solving — the what — and may have a good hypothesis — the how — to solve it. But few can explain the why. Richard Bronson, founder of 70 Million Jobs, was a Wall Street exec who served two years for a white-collar crime. Millions serve time for often very minor offenses, then come out with no way to earn a living. Richard lived this, and his emotional connection made his why compelling.” — Eva Ho; General partner, Fika Ventures, a seed fund that supports founders trying to solve systemic problems with data and AI
“Carolyn Childers, cofounder and CEO of Chief, immediately comes to mind. When Carolyn started raising her Series A round, it coincided with the birth of my third child. I invited Carolyn to my home, on a Sunday, to talk through a potential partnership. She met my 3-week-old baby girl and sat through my 4-year-old’s impromptu piano recital. Through all the chaos, I was impressed with her maturity as a leader, her clarity of vision, and her willingness to get in the weeds with me.” — Alexa Von Tobel; Founder and managing partner, Inspired Capital Partners, a venture capital firm