Archive for October, 2008

Three Steps to Funding Success

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Preparation is everything when trying to raise money for a new venture. Entrepreneurs need to be thorough and anticipate the questions and requests that will be thrown at them – if they even get as far as a meeting with an investor.

The first step is to submit an Executive Summary that is no more than two pages long. The purpose of this document is to gain a meeting with an investor. Because of the brevity of this document, every element and every word counts. It must convince the investor that spending 30 minutes is worth his/her time. Miss this one, and the game is over!

The second step is to present a Pitch Presentation in PowerPoint for use in front of the investor. The entrepreneur must be sensitive to the time element and respect the amount of time the investor is willing to give. It can range from 10 minutes to one hour. This will determine the number of slides to pick, while making every one of them count. The order in which the slides/topics are presented is extremely important so as to not lose the investor’s attention. This presentation must hypnotize!

The third step is to present a Business Plan. If the Pitch Presentation was successful, the investor will ask for it. This document has many elements, and it is important that it considers the investor’s priorities. For example, most entrepreneurs are fixated on their product, while Investors are more interested to know whether there is a market that has a dire need and is ready to buy.

Final point: all three documents must be complete before approaching investors, and they are usually developed in reverse order. If the Executive Summary sizzles, the entrepreneur must be prepared to follow through immediately. It does happen!

Is there such a thing as a Qualified Entrepreneur?

Friday, October 24th, 2008

A few years ago I was introduced to a software startup & had the opportunity to invest in their round A. I wasn’t particularly excited about the uniqueness of their tech. nor was I impressed with the CEO’s sense for running a business.
So I passed. However one of my friends did invest, and hence I remained in the loop.
The company struggled for a long time, but to my surprise just recently I learned that the company closed a distribution deal for their product with a large firm. It turned out that the CEO leveraged his personal connections to close a deal.

Moral of the story:

There is no such thing as a “Qualified Entrepreneur”.
Everybody with enough commitment, persistence and passion has the fair chance of making a business successful.