How to Get Your Startup Funded
Recently, GLEAC arranged the panel discussion “Know how to fund your startup” with Deeksha Ahuja, Eashita Maheshwary and myself discussing around the topic of funding startups, from our own experience and successes. This discussion sparked the idea behind this article.
There are several factors that a startup needs to consider attracting funding. In the panel discussion several things were mentioned: what is unique with what you are providing? How big is the market? Is it scalable? In what way is it scalable? What is your business model? Do you have traction? What does your team look like? What is your vision and big idea?
From my own experience I want to highlight that the team is ultimate to your success. Having the right people in a diverse team will enable you to deliver. Diversity is a business opportunity!
Also, I think you should all the time challenge yourself and your team with whether what you are building and doing is scalable. Not all business ideas are made for exponential growth, but it is sure nice if you can find models that have the hockey stick model. At the same time, be realistic with what can be achieved in what way — but don’t give up on your big dream!
Also the more you can standardize and automate, the less you will be depending solely on your own or the teams’ interactions to build the business and having to add people to your organization with every iteration. Also listen to your customers your early users — they can give you valuable feedback on your products and services, and what they might be missing. “Don’t love your product — love your business” , and you have the source for pivoting from your users. Never stop learning, business, science and society evolves continuously.
Being an entrepreneur, you are challenging the incumbents and the established corporates. It means you are trying to disrupt set business models. To do this you also need a bit of “craziness”. Startups are an interesting career alternative — most of Europe’s new factories are actually developed and built by startup companies.
So, what about investors — is it just a matter of the transaction (funding) or is there a need for building a closer relationship? Remember that an investor will be with you for many years. You want to find the right investors, who can also contribute to your success. Look at their superpowers, how does that fit with your team and plans? With a lead investor you should build a relationship. You are on the same team, even though you might not be aligned on every single item, there should be a joint common idea on what you want to achieve.
Mental strength and resilience for entrepreneurs is getting more attention, and that is good. You can be very alone with a lot of decision making, most of the weeks will see you facing the abyss, but be strong, stay positive and resilient, the sun might also shine on you! Remember to engage with your team, if you hire in or use external consultants — see them as your extended team.
The world is changing at a rapid pace, the opportunities are tremendous and there are good ways of getting fundable.
Thank you to GLEAC for inviting me and it was very enjoyable to talk with Deeksha and Eashita. I did learn some new things too!