You Want Investors’ Money? Stop Selling the Labor Pains. Show off the Baby!

You Want Investors’ Money? Stop Selling the Labor Pains. Show off the Baby!

People don’t bare gifts because of the labor pains. They bring gifts to celebrate the new creation. Summer is almost upon us: graduations, proms and last couple of investors’ conferences before vacation time. I’ll be heading to Silicon Valley Open Door (SVOD), a technology investment conference, in San Francisco, and to the RESI (Reinventing Early Stage Investment) conference in San Diego, which focuses on life science companies, as part of the investors’ panel. I’ll meet with the founders seeking funding and discuss opportunities with investors during one on one breakout sessions. If you are one of these founders, here is what I will be looking for:   Traction. What have you achieved? What milestones have you passed? Are you generating revenue? How have you proven you are solving a problem? These days, even angels tend to behave like VC, looking for traction. As an early stage company, and more so for those in life science sector, traction can be a daunting concept. You most likely don’t have revenue yet but there is always slow and measurable progress to leverage. Maybe you have identified and proven your target customer with sign up for upcoming trials; maybe you have endorsement from recognized scientific entities or perhaps pursuing a co-validation.   What does tomorrow look like? What changes do you anticipate in the market place? How will you still be relevant? You don’t have to know exactly, but based on trends, data and research, how are you directionally correct? From the time you conceptualized your idea to the first research/iteration to today, most likely a couple of years have passed. With seven...
Has Your Startup Been funded? Here’s How to Keep The Money Coming

Has Your Startup Been funded? Here’s How to Keep The Money Coming

  Look how far you’ve come. Despite the ups and downs, twists and turns of the entrepreneurial journey, you’ve developed your innovation, raised initial funding and put your product/service on the market. Now, you’re seeking a second round of investment. Let’s be brutally honest here, shall we? “Your job as an entrepreneur is not to raise money but to run a company”, said Paul Singh, investor and founder of Results Junkies. Singh recently participated in a panel at Co+Hoots, talking about how entrepreneurs can get more funding. The major constrain on entrepreneurs’ success is not the quality of their product or service, the intellectual property that protects it, or the lack of funding, but rather their inability to leverage their powers and gain traction. If you want to raise capital on your own, Singh’s advice is to prepare and be ready to have 500 meetings with investors in one week. Spending more time chasing the money would be a waste of your time. Singh explained, that the opportunities investors are looking to fund are the opportunities they are chasing. Not the other way around. The more you have to chase investors, the worse the deal. If investors are not returning your emails or phone calls, ask yourself what’s wrong with how you framed your opportunity, not what’s wrong with the investors. Lead With Traction If you are seeking additional funding for your venture, you have traction: customers, users, pre-orders, whatever the case may be. Edward Pizzarello, angel investor and serial entrepreneur, who was also a panelist at the Co+Hoots event said that when investors meet with founders, they hear all...
The Startup Guide to Funding: How to Make the Money Chase You!

The Startup Guide to Funding: How to Make the Money Chase You!

Startups looking for money are going about it all wrong. They are chasing the money, instead of making the money chase them. This article is about how to effectively secure funding. Why should you listen to me? I have spent almost three decades in the capital markets. I spent the early days of my career on Wall Street, as an Investment Banker. Now I spend my time solving complex financing problems for organizations of all stages. In all this time, I have seen what goes well and what goes wrong. While on Wall Street, more often than not, I was the person that put a company in play. What does that mean? It means I would seek them out to take them public. How did I find them? I actively researched, participated in industry related functions and had a great relationship with Civic Leaders. If you are doing something well, people will talk. Once a company came on my radar I quickly rated them based on their power: Hustle & Grit: As I learned about their story and all of the obstacles they overcame and struggles they endured, this made me want them more. That never die, can’t lose attitude cannot be taught. Management Team: How strong are they? Can they handle that type of next level success? Financials: How clean do they keep their books. This is an indication of how disciplined and well they will manage my money. How do you leverage your power? Learn the rules, then play to win! The rules of the game now are Fear & Greed. Intensify an investors fear of losing...
Shaping the Future: From What’s Now to What’s Next

Shaping the Future: From What’s Now to What’s Next

If you missed part 1 and 2, see From MVP to VC: Strategic Non-Starters and How to Avoid Them (part 1) and Don’t Tell Me About The Labor Pains, Show Me the Baby (part 2)   Shaping the Future: From What’s Now to What’s Next   You start a business because you see a gap and/or figure out a better way to do something. You build your MVP which has just enough feature to be functional. That’s the now. When seeking investment capital to fund your startup, you are focused on securing the money to make that ‘now’ happen. But what’s next? Depending on your industry, investors will expect their pay back within the next 3 to 5 years. How do you ensure that your shiny and magical solution of today will not only be relevant but innovative in the next 3 to 5 years and beyond?   Looking at industry trends and forecast, as well as constant technological advancements, what skill set do you need to acquire tomorrow? In which new ways will you deliver your solution tomorrow? If you still don’t see yourself as a tech company, think again!     Investors want to know how you will sustain your competitive edge. As we speak, there is someone out there that wants to eat your lunch tomorrow! Maybe they are not in your geographical area. Maybe they are not yet on the market but have already secured funding to deliver tomorrow’s solution today. A great way to understand what tomorrow’s competitive landscape will look like is to read news reports from investors such as Gust, PitchBook, and CB Insights....
Freshbooks Survey Finds Majority of Self-Employed Professionals Have No Intention of Returning To Traditional Employment

Freshbooks Survey Finds Majority of Self-Employed Professionals Have No Intention of Returning To Traditional Employment

FreshBooks Survey Finds Majority of Self-Employed Professionals Have No Intention of Returning to Traditional Employment FreshBooks, the #1 accounting software solution in the cloud for self-employed professionals and their teams, today unveiled a new survey that shines a light on the challenges, trade-offs, and mindset of small business...