Harvard Innovation Labs - Know Your Audience! How to Pitch to a VC

Date: 

Thursday, September 9, 2021, 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Virtual

All Students: Register Here

"What do funders actually care about when you pitch to them? How do you know when you are ready to raise money? Learn from two top tier VCs (who are also on the Allston Venture Fund selection committee) on how and when you should raise money for your venture.

Moderator: Pete Gladstone

Speakers:

  • Larry Bohn – General Catalyst
  • Michael Skok – Underscore

About the Leaders:

Larry Bohn – “I love building strong companies around great software and helping entrepreneurs scale up their impact, withstand adversity, and achieve something historic. I had the opportunity to build three leading business software companies before joining General Catalyst, taking two of them through their IPOs as CEO.

At General Catalyst, I’m involved with companies that transform a range of industries, including airSlate, B12, Bigcommerce, Black Duck Software (acquired by Synopsys), Clarabridge, Custora, Drift, Feedvisor, GoodData, HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS), Kensho (acquired by S&P Global), Locu (acquired by GoDaddy), Logz.io, L2 (acquired by Gartner), Mark43, OM1, Semantic Machines (acquired by Microsoft), Tidelift, Yottaa, and Zageno. I also co-founded the Velocity Network, which connects enterprise decision-makers with emerging start-ups.

My path to becoming a venture capitalist is quite unusual; I drove a taxi, worked on a farm, was a short-order cook, and managed a pool hall before getting a BA in English from UMass Amherst and an MA in English Linguistics from Clark University. Later, I taught composition and literature at junior colleges. With an undergrad class in Fortran and some writing skills, I got a job at Data General as a software technical writer and rode the wave that has made software the most important technology of our time.

My investment focus today includes new and existing businesses in cloud-based computing, AI, and SaaS business models, especially with a focus on commerce and analytic applications.

Outside of work, I’m an avid cyclist and occasional woodworker. I’ve been a rider in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) for 22 years and have contributed to raising over $450 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I’m also a proud dad (two grown kids working in healthcare) and not a perfect husband married to a near-perfect wife.”

Michael Skok started his first software business as a teenager, spent 21 years as an entrepreneur and then the past 18 years as a venture investor. During this time, he has founded, worked with and invested in startups, and created thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of value. Along the way, he also mentored and taught for 4 years at Harvard University, and created the Startup Secrets series.

As an entrepreneur and an investor, Michael has focused on breakthrough technologies and disruptive business models including Open Source, Cloud, IoT, and emerging domains such as Blockchain, Virtual/Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning. He has served on or is active on many private and public boards such as Acquia, Demandware (now a Salesforce company), Mautic (acquired by Acquia in 2019), Salsify and Zaius. He has also participated in leadership roles in many industry groups such as the Software Publishers Association where he was Chairman for many years in Europe.

In 2015, Michael co-founded Underscore VC first and foremost to empower entrepreneurs to realize their vision in building impactful businesses. He has a passion for helping the next generation of entrepreneurs succeed by not only investing but bringing the resources, talent and commitment of an aligned community around them to assure their success."