Posts Tagged: Small Business
In the past few years crowdfunding platforms have transformed the way many projects are being financed – instead of just relying on family & friends to support them and their idea, musicians, film makers, entrepreneurs or simply anybody with a passion or a business idea can seek funding from Internet users on platforms like Indiegogo or Kickstarter. It opens up exciting new opportunities for creativity and entrepreneurship by connecting those with ideas and a passion to others with money and the same passion.
I am therefore very happy to have participated in the seed round of funding for Indiegogo, one of the leading players in this space (alongside my friends over at Metamorphic). Indiegogo’s founders Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell were the first to really see the crowdfunding opportunity and have built a truly global platform that has helped over 40,000 campaigns raise millions of dollars in more than 200 countries.
It still feels like very early times for the crowdfunding vertical so it will be exciting to watch this industry evolve.
- Slava Rubin: The CrowdFunders: IndieGoGo’s Most Extraordinary Campaigns (huffingtonpost.com)
- IndieGoGo aims to be the go-to for crowdfunding (gigaom.com)
- Slava Rubin: Six Steps To Raising Startup Funds On Crowdfunding Platforms (huffingtonpost.com)
I met with 10 early-stage startups in Seattle yesterday and it was a good reminder for me what some of the most important messages are that you want to bring across to an investor when you have a limited amount of time to present your company. Here are the 4 key points that I very much care about:
- Company vision / elevator pitch: I too often get founders that cannot describe in 2-3 sentences what the vision of their startup is and what their company is all about. Make it simple and start the conversation with it. Otherwise, the investor will feel kind of lost as they don’t even know what you really want to build.
- Team: everybody has a team slide but in an early-stage environment I really want to know who can actually build stuff (and see examples of what they have built) and who are the “suits” (and what concrete value they are bringing to the team). Your team is only 3-4 people strong so you better have the right guys on board to start this company and you need to bring this across to the potential investor.
- Competitive advantage: think long and hard about how you differentiate from other sites out there. Too often founders overestimate how differentiated their product is when it is actually just a nice evolution of existing products that will have a hard time convincing users to switch.
- Distribution: distribution often doesn’t get the necessary amount of attention and founders seem to assume that people will just flock to their site so really go through the different marketing channels and come up with a strategy that make the most sense for the product you built.
So keep your pitch short and simple and make sure to address those 4 points – it will sure help to make your pitch more concise!
P.S.: I had a great time in Seattle and am always impressed by the consumer internet scene down there – perhaps this will turn into more investments soon!
Start-ups are all about the people creating and growing them so all of our founders and CEO’s are continuously looking to add great talent to their teams. Going forward I am going to highlight some of the job opportunities here on the blog – so consider applying if you are interested in one of the jobs below (and please spread the word if you know of any candidates that might be a fit):
Technical Dev Lead for Weddingful: http://www.weddingful.com/job.html
My take: Great opportunity to get involved at a very early stage of a promising company and lead product development – must think and act like a founder!
Top notch engineers for Indochino: http://bit.ly/dftKsg
My take: Indochino is one of the fastest-growing Internet companies in Vancouver and was recently named one of North America’s top startups. The company wants to revolutionize the online apparel industry so tons of interesting product development challenges around customization and personalization.
Both opportunities are based in Vancouver.
I have been very impressed with what Mark MacLeod has done for numerous Montreal and Toronto startups as their part-time CFO. A former CFO for numerous startups himself, he started StartupCFO Enterprises a few years ago in order provide financial and strategic guidance as well as back office admin services (so everything from help in the fund raising process to running pay roll / accounting). Every startup with serious ambitions needs good support in the financial area but great part-time CFO’s are hard to find and often not affordable. But by offering his services to about a dozen start-ups, Mark has not only found a business model that works for him but is also a tremendous addition to the startup community out East.
So where is the StartupCFO of Vancouver? Reach out to me, would love to chat.