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What Investors Look for in Startups & Founders @ProductHunt

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What exactly do investors look for in startups and founders? When you’re looking to fundraise, the answer to this question can sometimes feel like a mystery. Unless you’ve successfully sought out investors before, you won’t always know how best to connect with them, prepare for meetings, and emphasize exactly the information they most want.

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Over the past several months, dozens of investors have shared what they look for when making investment decisions with the Product Hunt LIVE Chatcommunity. We scoured through those conversations to pull out some of the best advice from 13 different investors. Read on to learn exactly what blows them away—and what ultimately makes them want to invest in you and your startup.

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What is one thing that stands out to you in an early stage startup? –
Neeharika Sinha

The one thing that always stands out the most in an early stage startup is the team. We invest quite early in a company’s life; it will usually take 6–10 years for the company to reach giant success. Given that, many things will go wrong and the one mitigating factor for setbacks is a great team. We spend the most amount of time thinking about the founders and the early team before investing. — David Pakman, Partner at Venrock

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Does experience starting a company/industry knowledge matter as much when we talk about founders who are in their 20s? — Tamar Weiss

I’ve actually found that industry knowledge can sometimes serve as an impediment to a founder. The best startup ideas are typically contrarian — and in my experience, people who have spent years working in an industry might have the hardest time identifying opportunities for disruptive change. Amazon wasn’t founded by someone in the book industry. AirBnB wasn’t founded by someone with hotel/hospitality experience. Travis [Kalanick, Founder & CEO of Uber] didn’t work for a taxi or limo company. — Josh Kopelman, Partner at First Round Capital

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