It’s as predictable as the seasons themselves: As the year moves from fall into winter, I see hot deals start to lose steam. Company founders suddenly discover that scheduling a phone call with a VC becomes hard. Trying for an actual meeting? Uh-uh. It’s December in VC land, the month where deals go to die. The same thing happens every August.
I’m not sure why the VC industry adopted Wall Street’s seasonality, but it has. The main vacation months of March (spring break), August (summer break) and Thanksgiving through New Year’s (holidays) bring the industry to a standstill. This may confuse a lot of newcomers; after all, CrunchBase data shows that more deals close in December than in any other month. But that’s only because the lion’s share of the work occurred in the previous three to four months. The legal work alone of closing the deal takes at least a month.
So when is the best time to start raising money? The data points to the spring and the fall. And of those two, the fall — after Labor Day but before Thanksgiving break — is the better option. That’s right now! VCs are in the business of deploying capital; if their year starts slow, they’re inclined to catch up before the end of the year by doing more or slightly larger deals and spending more money. During these months, you can string together a lot of VCs’ undivided attention. Even better, these are hot conference seasons, when investors are prowling around the country looking for great new companies to fund. Do your future a favor and attend one. Don’t be afraid to try to book side meetings with any VCs in attendance. Investors are there to be seen and make deals, just like you.
If you’re reading this and you’re in the middle of a deal, good for you. If you’re not, you’d better get moving. The window to line up a good one shuts down in less than two months, and it won’t reopen until after March. Happy hunting.