On June 28 I was a sponsor and attended the New York Venture Summit sponsored by youngStartup Ventures. The event is geared towards tech – medical, IT and green/clean/sustainable companies. But there are also several VC panels which give attendees valuable information/advice about all areas of funding. The advice I heard applies to all companies. So I thought I’d share with you the key points echoed across multiple panels.
On the first panel I attended, this nugget showed up: VCs are more inclined to fund — or at least look kindly upon — a company that has a management team that has done it before. If a VC sees a recognizable name on the team, all the better.
The next gem was in answer to a question I posed — what’s your advice to a pre-revenue company to get your attention and funding? Alex Suh, Managing Director of California Technology Ventures, said, show me a quick animation of how your product works. So many start-up companies can’t do this. Now in fashion, depending on your product or service, that may be redundant because the fashion itself is the product and of course you’re showing it. But if you’re a fashion IT company, or provide some other product, take the information to heart.
On a later panel I heard some different (and perhaps contradictory) advice which was to focus on the quality of the idea and the value creation as well as the team. And an interesting point was raised about the team — if you look at Zuckerberg (Facebook), Gates (Microsoft), Ellison (Oracle), Jobs (Apple) not a single one of those people would have inspired investment by a VC when they came with the idea – in fact each of those people probably would have turned a VC off. Go figure.
Not sure you want VC money? Here’s a success story from a company that turned down eight figures: