You Can’t Build Relationships If You Can’t Remember Their Names. This Entrepreneur Is Solving That.

You Cant Build Relationships If You Cant Remember Their Names


12 min learn


In this ongoing series, we’re sharing recommendation, suggestions and insights from real entrepreneurs who’re on the market doing business battle every day. (Answers have been edited and condensed for readability.) 

Who are you and what’s your enterprise?

Andrew Reiner, co-founder of Grapevine AI. My infatuation with entrepreneurship began once I was 15 — constructing an organization that I grew to over 250 purchasers and bought earlier than even enrolling in faculty. After graduating from Babson College, I labored at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital in capital markets. Then I developed right into a quant jock at Zweig-Dimenna Hedge fund and in 2012 left to develop into the COO for SeatServe, an in-seat supply platform for stadiums, venues, and ran all issues gross sales, hiring, GTM, and was the fundraising “ninja,” elevating two rounds of capital.  Because paying it ahead has all the time been an enormous a part of who I’m, I counsel a number of startups and mentored for Halcyon Accelerator.

What is Grapevine AI?

We’re constructing the primary voice-driven, real-language relationships insights platform. Essentially, we allow you to simply ramble about who you met, what’s vital to them, and what you must do subsequent and we care for the remainder. It’s as simple as having a dialog with your self. Just click on a button and begin capturing intel in your contacts: Bob loves the Mets, Jane’s quota is due on the finish of April, or Elizabeth has two youngsters named Peter and Lucy. Whatever is vital to you is vital to us. But even higher, we are able to recall this information, simply by asking actual questions on anecdotal particulars. Grapevine AI will make it easier to genuinely join together with your prospects or associates as a result of we gained’t allow you to neglect the small print that will imply the world to your contacts. Think of it as your private handler!

What impressed you to create Grapevine.ai?

I used to be at a marriage up in Cape Cod and I noticed a 65-year-old man carrying a Knicks hat. I instantly thought 2 issues: 1) I’ve by no means seen somebody put on a baseball hat to a marriage and a pair of)  I’ve by no means seen somebody with the stones to put on a Knicks hat this near Boston. I like assembly new individuals, so I made a decision to go speak to him. Over the following 30 to 45 minutes we talked, we laughed, and I realized a bunch of issues about him. He’s a physician from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, he is consuming Macallan 12, he is clearly a Knicks fan, and I assumed to myself: I want to introduce him to my dad. They’re about the identical age, docs, each of them love the Knicks and a very good glass of whiskey, however most significantly they’re each horrendous however entertaining dancers. The downside got here the following morning once I forgot his identify! It actually pissed me off that I could not bear in mind one particular person’s identify from the evening earlier than and it made me pause — what else am I forgetting? How am I supposed to construct relationships with individuals over six months, 2 years, the remainder of my life? There wanted to be a greater technique to deal with constructing the precise connection and there wanted to be a approach to make use of synthetic intelligence and voice expertise to take action. This is why we developed Grapevine AI.

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We created Grapevine AI as a result of scribbled notes on cocktail napkins, Post-Its or no matter cockamamie system you employ simply isn’t slicing it anymore. Why not whip out your cellphone and rapidly speak to Grapevine? You’ll by no means scramble earlier than a gross sales name or assembly as a result of reminders about key particulars (private {and professional}) will likely be curated and delivered to you in Grapevine AI’s Daily Intelligence Briefings.

What has been your greatest problem through the pandemic, and the way did you pivot to beat it?

Team-building, fundraising, and determining how we are able to modify our product to the brand new regular of back-to-back Zoom calls. So a lot of what I worth in main a staff is constructing a robust, cohesive group of people who can work laborious and play laborious — collectively! Of course, with Covid, gone went Friday beers and Playstation tournaments. So we began Thursday zoom sport days–everything from Mario Kart to trivia games–to maintain us all linked on the enjoyable entrance. It was obligatory, crucial even, to speak with one another. We provided $10/day to our staff for lunch and a clean examine for everybody to order a beautiful meal (for them and their partner) for the vacations in order that we might have our “holiday zoom” collectively as nicely.

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From the fundraising perspective, I’m a lot better in particular person as a result of half of what I attempt to do is learn physique language, which is clearly extra sophisticated to do over Zoom. The flip-side to that is we have been in a position to meet with notable traders from everywhere in the world and now have a world community of wonderful traders. People are extra receptive now greater than ever to fulfill with of us from exterior their community/area. We have been actually lucky to have a improbable staff and an ideal product that fundraising over zoom was manageable -– we discovered individuals actually resonated with the issue we try to resolve, and it didn’t matter that our pitch wasn’t in particular person.

From the product aspect, it was important for us to evolve our platform to make use of it each on the go and at your desk. It’s why we created a web-based dashboard that makes use of our cutting-edge AI and have plans to combine into Zoom this 12 months.

What recommendation would you give entrepreneurs searching for funding?

First, let me simply spotlight the completely different investor channels you ought to be conscious of:

  • Friends and household → best capital to realize if in case you have the community, hardest cash to ask for. If you might be unwilling to ask these closest to you, you ship a “lack of conviction” sign to traders. 

  • LinkedIn → chilly outreach right here is not the worst concept.

  • Angel.co → get a really feel of what kind of investor invests in your area.

  • Crunchbase → get a really feel for what your opponents have raised and from whom.

  • Signal.nfx.com → see lively traders in your area; discover widespread acquaintances to ask for introductions.

  • Syndicate Groups → Typically spend money on later stage “down the pipe” investments, however a good way so as to add strategic LPs to your cap desk.

  • Venture funds → Depending in your stage, traction, this might be a wonderful sign to your startup. It additionally typically comes with different strings hooked up (learn: board seats, pro-rata rights, and so forth.).

  • High sign traders → who’s one of the best investor for you? Who may also help you go from 0→ 1 or 2→ 4 by way of their very own community or expertise?

Next, let’s discuss how you can method traders and who to method first.

In my opinion, begin with family and friends. Take small checks. Give them good phrases. Reward them for supporting you early. Then transfer on to angel traders and enterprise funds should you resolve that’s the proper route. These are typically tougher to be launched to & it’s often one of many founder’s jobs to discover a mutual/heat connection to an investor. The neatest thing is that should you depart a very good impression with one investor, they’re often keen to make an introduction even when they go on the spherical. Whenever somebody handed on us, I all the time requested for value-add introductions. This creates a spider net of connections making a community impact virtually instantly.

The finest technique to ask for an introduction is to ascertain credibility with whomever you’re speaking to and ship them an e mail they’ll ahead. I take advantage of the same template that Alex Iskold (of TechStars & 2048.vc) popularized that you could find here.

It’s important to determine who you assume provides worth to your cap desk and who may also help you develop rapidly. I imagine that there are 3 ways for traders so as to add worth. One is so that you can scale by way of their portfolio corporations, which is an apparent value-add. The second approach is to be a model ambassador that can assist you go viral. The final approach is to extend your data by way of dialog and whiteboarding–helping you determine future channels for fundraising and normal advising. It’s even higher in the event that they may also help store your enterprise to different traders. I’d reasonably have a cap desk that crunched my valuation crammed with strategic traders than a lofty valuation from individuals who add no worth. Most cap tables I do know of have a mix of each varieties of traders.

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I’ve used sign.nfx.com just a few occasions for locating direct connections to traders by way of my community, however I do not imagine I’ve ever acquired a examine from this route. Most syndicate teams handed on us as a result of we have been pre-revenue and pre-launch, however one of many world’s largest teams believed in our imaginative and prescient and got here in with a considerable examine. Syndicates, in my view, are nice, you get a great deal of LPs who’re model ambassadors and potential pilots or income channels, however you solely take care of one supervisor and one entry in your cap desk.

How finest to organize for a pitch assembly?

I like to consider making ready for a pitch as 60% know your shit, 30% present your ardour, and 10% perceive who your viewers is. Never ever learn a pitch. It’s apparent. You would possibly assume it’s not since you’ve enlarged your font so your eyes don’t transfer or another trick, nevertheless it’s virtually inconceivable to pretend enthusiasm and fervour whereas studying a teleprompter.

The key’s to know your stuff. Know the massive speaking factors per slide—apply, apply, apply. Record your self. Listen to your self — even should you discover it cringe-worthy (I do know I do). Identify how one can enhance. Practice some extra. Research your business, know your opponents. Know your key differentiator, the place the market is and the way it’s yours for the taking. Then apply some extra.

Then, once you’re able to pitch of us, pitch individuals who you assume are least prone to spend money on your startup. Whether you’re too early for them, otherwise you don’t match their precise thesis, or should you doubt they’ve the money to take a position. Practice pitching on them. They will ask you questions you might be unprepared for, nevertheless it’s okay as a result of the percentages of you closing them are small to start with. After you get extra comfy answering the identical questions most individuals will ask, transfer on to of us you assume there’s a slight likelihood of closing and pitch some extra. They will ask completely different questions. You will begin to develop into higher at answering them on the fly. Then, lastly, go after people who you assume you’ve got one of the best shot at closing. By now, you’ve got pitched just a few dozen occasions (hopefully) and have labored the kinks out of your system. You will appear SO rather more ready through the Q&A piece of the pitch since you’ve already heard and responded to many of the questions they’ll ask. You will shine. The investor will assume you’re a rockstar – and you’re a rockstar – however not since you simply know the whole lot. You’re a rockstar since you saved one of the best for final, and now you might be a lot extra ready than you have been once you pitched the primary investor just a few weeks prior.

What does the phrase “entrepreneur” imply to you?

An entrepreneur is somebody who’s all the time looking for a greater technique to resolve previous issues. Someone who will get instructed no, and as a substitute of being dejected, tries to study why they heard no. Someone who’s keen to danger all of it – betting on themselves and their skill to execute. Someone who can’t have a boss and desires to alter the world, one small section at a time. An entrepreneur craves the frenzy and loves feeling like they beat the system. Ultimately, it’s somebody who loves profitable and all the time thinks, “I can do it better.”

Is there a specific quote or saying that you simply use as private motivation? 

When I used to be youthful, like 12, my dad and I used to long-distance run collectively. He was a constant marathoner. Whenever I used to be drained or wanted a break, my dad would have a look at me and make me scream, in Central Park or wherever we have been, “I’m a fucking animal!” and maintain going. Single-handedly probably the most motivating factor anybody has ever stated to me.

 

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