Did you watch The Purposeful Project’s webinar on how to raise your first investment round?
We invited successful entrepreneurs from celebrated brands to share their areas of expertise, so you could get the inside scoop of raising funding!
What you will learn after reading:
💸 How to prepare to raise funding
💸 Where to start
💸 The down-low on choosing the right investor
💸 How to close a deal
Let’s meet our speakers!
Neil Dillon, Head of Equity at Swoop is responsible for finding start-up funding for Swoop clients and building out our venture capital network, working with lots of businesses and helping them find funding.
His points will teach you:
✏️ The importance of planning
✏️Pitch decks and what they should include
✏️ When to start
✏️ Getting noticed
Let’s read his tips!
1) Plan to prevent poor performance
Obviously, you're not going to try and get funding without planning out your objectives first! But what do you have to do to prepare for your first round?
“Make sure you're actually a good fit for equity investment. But many many businesses don't start like that. Less than 1% get access to venture capital funding.” says Neil.
He advises you to “explore all your options” to find the best fit for your business.
2) Shorten your pitch deck pages
“Don't overdo it with information in your pitch deck, '' Neil says. He suggests “15 to 20 slides” as investors don’t have time to look through really lengthy documents.
However, it should include “a detailed business plan, the problem, your solution, your forecast, the team”.
So you need to include the relevant details, get the reader engaged but don't want to give too much away. Make sure you have room to “wow” investors when you meet them.
3) Start early
The question that all entrepreneurs want to know the answer to, when to start? Neil’s advice is to start early and keep track of who you are talking to. Useful relationships with potential investors or
4) Get on the radar
Getting noticed by investors is important if you want to raise funding and grabbing their attention is hard when they are so busy.
To make yourself known, Neil advises you to “join webinars and follow up after. If you take away some of the learnings from here and make sure you've got a great-looking pitch deck, well designed, very thoughtful. You can make a good case for yourself
Next up is Adrienne Little, Head of Investment at And Rising who invests in and scales brands of the future. They focus on businesses that have a “good impact” and are “clean conscious and creative”.
Let’s see what insight she has about how to raise your first investment!
Helping successfully scale Seedlip, ClearScore, Popchips and LOVEFiLM (acquired by Amazon), Adrienne has quite the experience to advise you what to avoid.
Her points will teach you:
✏️ Investing in expertise
✏️ How to find the right investor
1) Invest in long term value
The hurdle for most is that people can't afford to put money in at an early stage, which is why there is such a demand to raise funding.
“One of the most common mistakes we see in the early days is the desire for a brand to hire a marketing team fairly quickly,” says Adrienne.
It’s actually “better spent on smaller amounts of expertise that have a bigger impact to fuel early-stage acquisition and proof of concept” she explains.
Investing in something that has long-term value rather than a short-term quick fix, is a much better decision for businesses wanting to scale.
2) Go with your gut
How do you know it's the right investor for you?
Adrienne says that you can often get ”an instant reaction” and “in a world where there are a lot of unknowns, going with your gut is a better reason than any.”
If you have the right vibes and go with what you feel is right.
Kirsty Macdonald, Principal at JamJar Investments, the innocent drinks founders’ venture capital fund. They invest in founding teams to help them create, nurture and scale challenger consumer brands in the UK. Investments include Deliveroo, Bulb Energy, Tony's Chocolonely and Babylon Health.
Prior to JamJar, Kirsty trained at consumer goods giant Unilever where she worked on marketing and customer analytics across a variety of brands within their personal care and food portfolios.
Read on to understand:
✏️ How to style your pitch
✏️ How to dominate the numbers game
✏️ How to keep investors interested
1) Be clear
When pitching for investment, “be clear on what the business does and why it's materially better than the current solutions in the market”.
Be able to explain it succinctly so you have time to really explain the product or service that your business provides.
Bring your product to the meeting. Even if it's not physical, bring a mockup to bring the meeting to life.
2) Know your numbers
Really understand your numbers and metrics, including where you currently are and your future projections. For example, know where you want to be in 1 year or 2 years realistically.
3) Keep up your motivation, momentum and move forward
Making an investment deal can be really difficult, so don’t be too disheartened if you don’t get one straight away as the process takes time to find the right one.
“Just because a fund says no it really doesn't mean anything, it just means they couldn't quite get there. But somebody else can, so just keep going” Kirsty urges.
A way to turn it into a learning experience is to “accept feedback gracefully”.
When you do finally secure your investment, close quickly once you have interest from investors and “strike while the iron’s hot,” she says, “once you lose momentum on a fundraise it's quite difficult to pick back up with VC’s”.
Here is what our three guests said about working with up-and-coming founders to conclude the session, so all you entrepreneurs out there, listen up!
⚡ “I genuinely don't think I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I think what it is is amazing. The grit and the determination you have to have, the best part of my job is working with you guys because I know I could never be you,” Kirsty confessed. 💬
“Keep going, I take my hat off to you, it's an amazing position to be in. I'm in awe of you and I always will be.” 🎩
⚡Adrienne spoke about what it’s like to be alongside founders. “It's so fun working with startups and scale-ups, new ideas, crazy ideas, tech, just habit-changing human stuff. It's fascinating, you just can't get bored.” 💬 “We consider ourselves as part of the team, and that is for us having a good relationship, working with great people and exciting ideas and that’s what it's all about.” 💬
⚡"If we aren't able to get them through the door with an investor we can cover lots of different options,” says Neil. 💬 “Being able to offer different options instead of just saying no is really rewarding.”
Want to see more of the session? There are plenty more pearls of wisdom from this event that you can watch back on our YouTube! Click here to watch.
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