Collider Investor Therapy Session
‘The most important thing I want you all to take away from this is to recognise you belong here.’
Recently QUT CEA hosted a panel event for our creative startups. Fronted by Peter Loy, Founder and Managing Partner at Flywheel Ventures, the panel comprised of Angel Investors from different industries. This included our very own expert in residence Shelli Trung, General Manager for Adroll, Ben Sharp, Founder of Startup Onramp, Colin Kinner, and Venture Capitalist Investor Stewart Glynn.
Kickstarting the event with introductions of speakers and elevator pitches from the audience, Peter led the discussion on how startups can capture the interest of potential investors, what they can do to secure mutually beneficial business relationships and common mistakes businesses make in their pitching phase. Here are some key takes from that event:
Having a passionate team
A point that was often returned to was the importance of creating a stable team. The panel unanimously agreed that not only should a startup be made of people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their industry, but a strict importance should be placed on understanding the team dynamics and strengths of each individual member. It was agreed by all panel members that the most successful startups they’d worked with were not a result of founders employing the ‘best of the best’ but by grouping together people who were reasonably intelligent and passionate about their industry.
Having been on both sides of the table, all members of the panel stressed the importance of establishing a relationship with a potential investor before soliciting funds. When queried on the number of startups they’d invested in, the favourable answer proved to be three to four a year, with an average of fifty startups examined. This was due in part to the amount of time needed to invest in a startup and the resources available. For investors such as Colin and Stewart, their affiliation with Steve Baxter and his connection to Shark Tank had them receiving a surge of emails and requests, so much so, that even considerably high-quality startups had to be rejected. Startups that took the time to create a relationship were far more likely to bypass a waiting period and secure funding.
Knowing the value of your company
A considerably less common, but fatal mistake startups make is undervaluing their company. Just as overestimating the value of your company can show a lack of understanding and pretension, undervaluing the projected outcome of your startup proved to be an even worse pitfall, more so for the possibilities of exploitation. When asked by an audience member whether downplaying the worth of your company can garner more interest from investors, Sharp pointed out that any legit investor would be hesitant to invest, as taking advantage of a potentially prosperous startup would only cause dissension in the long run.
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