A good mentor-mentee relationship can be game-changing for a startup, and therefore it is important that both – mentor and mentee – understand how they can make the engagement meaningful, productive, rewarding and fulfilling.
A good mentor can make significant contribution in not just the success of a startup, but also in the personal and professional growth of an entrepreneur. And therefore, I advise entrepreneurs to not give the tag of a ‘mentor’ loosely to anyone whose advice you seek regularly.
Mentoring is way beyond business advice and expertise sharing, and hence entrepreneurs and experts should be very, very careful when initiating a mentor-mentee relationship.
Who is a good mentor for your venture? Continue reading “What makes a good mentor-mentee relationship”
The word ‘startups’ is currently used to describe technology companies or technology enabled companies that have the potential to get funding from angel investors or VCs. However, using that definition for a startup narrows the possibilities that the entrepreneur can pursue as a business because the kind of companies that VCs can invest in is a very small subset of the many kinds of businesses that entrepreneurs can pursue.
While many ventures can be good businesses for the entrepreneurs, they need not necessarily be a good investment for VCs. And to understand why that is so, it is important to understand the business model of angel investors and VCs. Continue reading “Thinking beyond VC funding can significantly expand the options and possibilities for an entrepreneur”
Angel investors and early-stage VCs invest in companies at a stage when the assumptions around the business and the entrepreneur’s execution capabilities are yet to be proven.
While investors review shortlisted companies very, very diligently based on their perspective of the opportunity, their assessment of the business case, and their perception of the entrepreneur’s capabilities, quite a few of the companies that they invest in will fail for a variety of reasons. Some of their portfolio companies may do well, but the investors may not get an exit i.e. they may not get a buyer for the equity they hold in some reasonably successful ones.
Not only will the investors not get any returns on these investments in ventures that don’t succeed or where they do not get an exit, they will most likely lose their capital as well. Only a few of the companies that they invest in will be successful to the extent that they had assumed they would (or much more than that in rare cases).
And therefore, to cover these losses and to make money on their portfolio as a whole, they need at least a few multi-baggers in their portfolio i.e. companies that will be sold for 10 – 20 times the capital they had invested in. Continue reading “Are angel investors and VCs greedy? Why do they seek 10x – 20x returns on their investments.”
I often come across business pitch decks, or even company websites that have fancy set of words that don’t really communicate what the company does. For example, a tagline like “Redefining Healthcare” feels grand, but does not give the reader any clues on what your company does.
Instead, if the tagline were to be specific saying “Your neighborhood childcare clinic’, there is specificity in communicating what you are offering. If your tag line can also communicate your value proposition, it is ideal. E.g. “Affordable cardiac care”.
VCs and angel investor networks get 100s of business plans every month. And a few individuals in VC firms have the task of sifting though these pitch decks to shortlist those that they think are worthy of more time. Because it is impossible for anyone to go through 100s of pitch decks very, very diligently, it is often the first impressions and the clarity of communication of the first couple of slides that will decide whether the deck makes it to the ‘shortlisted for further review’ bucket.
There are now more ways than ever for startups to find and connect with investors, through in-person events and online deal-closure platforms, but this also means that investors are seeing more companies than ever before – it is important for entrepreneurs to catch their attention as they may only have one chance to make a good first impression.
Many startups start reaching out to investors before they know how to make a sound and compelling investment case for their business – and how to articulate that.
Often even strong entrepreneurs with good ideas never get a foot in the door, or catch an investor’s attention because they have not been able to present a compelling case to investors.
Investors want to see a well thought out plan for your business. And how well your pitch deck or intro video communicates a well-thought-out plan is what can get investor attention. Continue reading “Why I wrote the book: Starting up and Fund Raising”