The worst question that founders absolutely need to ask prospective investors

There is one question every entrepreneur should ask when talking to prospective investors but its a question I hate answering more than any other. The question boils down to:

“Besides capital what will you do for me?”

Capital is a commodity and these days there are a ton of places to get it. It only makes sense to ask your prospective investors what they think sets them apart and what they can bring to the table. Nobody who has a choice wants “dumb money.”

That said I hate this question because its like asking someone on a first date what sort of tangible value they will deliver to you over the next 10 years. There really isn’t a good and credible answer. Will I help with recruiting? Sure. Will I help you raise your next round? Yup. Will I introduce you to potential key partners? Of course but saying all of these things is fairly meaningless.

As a founder what you should focus on in these meetings is whether there is chemistry between you and the investor. Am I someone you want to spend countless hours working with and does it seem like I am going to want to spend that time with you. All the deliverables that a prospective investor promises you are essentially just different ways of saying I will give you X hours of my time. Focus on whether you want that time and you’ll be happier with your decision.