LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman became a billionaire by making smart bets, and he's always on the lookout for a new worthy investment.
Hoffman, who co-founded the career-focused social network LinkedIn in 2002, made billions when the company sold to Microsoft for $26.2 billion in 2016. But, he's also one of Silicon Valley's most prolific and successful startup investors, including in his current role as a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners. He was among the earliest investors in Facebook and he's held stakes in companies like Airbnb, news aggregator Digg and Groupon.
As a sought-after investor in the tech world, Hoffman's in-box is regularly flooded with pitches from start-ups and hopeful entrepreneurs looking to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, Hoffman receives anywhere from 100 to 200 "cold pitches" from entrepreneurs every week, the LinkedIn co-founder told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview.
Hoffman tells the Journal that he only looks "seriously" at between six to eight of the ideas he receives each week, and he says there is a tried-and-true formula for successfully pitching your start-up idea.
"In good pitches, [Hoffman] says, entrepreneurs don't just boast of their credentials and competitive edge; they clearly articulate the risks and challenges and how they will overcome them," The Journal's Chris Kornelis writes.
In other words, don't just highlight your strengths and the reasons why you believe your idea will be successful — it's just as important to be up front about potential obstacles and solutions to them.