“We like to sell umbrellas on rainy days,” stated Alex Estevez, as Jason Caplain and Bobby Ocampo chuckled along in agreeance during our interview with the venture capitalists prior to this week’s investor panel at Switchyards.
At some point in your entrepreneurial expedition, you’re likely going to want or need investments to keep your startup soaring. We asked the seasoned investors from Accel Partners, Bull City Venture Partners and Revolution on what coaxes them into serving up funding. Read on to find out how to vet VCs and take your startup down to investment town. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Have a Unique Solution to a Problem
Let’s face it, startups fail – a lot (more than 90% of the time to get factual). As you’re taking off with your brilliant idea, dig deep and make sure your product has a unique solution people can’t find anywhere in the market – and that consumers actually want!
Prioritize Building a Killer Customer Base
We aren’t talking about your mom, your neighbor, or your great Uncle Ned. You need independent customers who use your product and can provide real feedback. Genuine responses will help you build, learn and turn your product into something even greater.
Hold Tight to Your Entrepreneurial Drive
A cherished quality amongst entrepreneurs is the ability to see an opportunity and chase it, but oftentimes it’s easy to go off the beaten path. Stay committed and focused, people will notice.
Don’t Grow for the Sake of Growing
As you’re growing your startup, allocate the money you have in sustainable and profitable ways. All too often, entrepreneurs just want to grow, grow, grow but aren’t ultimately able to keep up and hit a downturn.
Build Meaningful Relationships with Investors
Don’t go gabbing to every Tom, Dick, and Hillary in the investment community willing to listen. The best relationship building is done over a longer period of time when you’re willing to talk more than just money (Caplain stated one of the best entrepreneurs he met cultivated relationships 2 years in advance). When the time is right, seek out a selectable few, or heck, by then they may come to you.