Tips for entrepreneurs looking for investment
An event hosted by Finerva
On Friday 18 June 2021, Oxentia was invited to attend a masterclass for entrepreneurs as a special guest. The event was hosted by our Oxford-based friends at Finerva, a consulting business supporting SMEs on the financial, administrative, and legal matters. The masterclass focused on investment, and aimed to provide entrepreneurs with practical tips for fast and successful fundraising.
Here are some tips discussed during the masterclass that innovators around the world might find useful.
Look for funding when you do not need it
This seems counterintuitive, but it is far from it. There is no wrong time for funding, and there are multiple advantages in looking for and securing funds when you do not need it.
Mingling with VCs is an opportunity to expand your network of professionals interested in investing in your sector: these contacts may become useful in the future and, when you need them, you will be glad you went hunting for investment when you did not need it.
Investors interested in your sector have extensive experience and understanding of products and services in your market. Talking to them can be a learning opportunity and can provide useful input for your strategy.
If you approach investors when your business is doing well, you are more likely to inspire confidence in potential investors. Another key aspect of obtaining funds when you do not need it is the opportunity to use it creatively. If you secure investment when you don’t need it, you are more likely to invest it to grow your business and improve features of your products rather than to survive.
VCs’ networks can be more important than their money
Venture capitalists are the key to investment, but also to a wide network of business people and other investors that, in some situations, can be as vital to your business as funding itself. If you engage with the right type of investor for your business, that is someone with experience working with entrepreneurs operating in your market, whatever the outcome of the funding round, you are likely to meet potential partners through them.
Keep an open mind
Nothing in business is set in stone. Client needs evolve, society changes, markets adapt. When you engage with investors and potential partners, you become part of an ecosystem that is itself constantly evolving. To be successful, you need to adapt, keeping an open mind to identify opportunities for change and growth when you least expect them. If you show yourself as a dynamic entrepreneur, able to seize opportunities and re-invent your business in response evolutions in your macro- and micro-environments, people will be more willing to collaborate with you both as investors and business partners. To achieve this, you must find the right balance between being extremely sure that your product or service is the best possible solution to market needs, and continue to show curiosity and willingness to improve the status quo.
What’s in it for entrepreneurs?
There is no winning trick to secure investment, but some good-practice guidelines can make a significant difference in the way you position your venture in the VCs’ space and, ultimately, to the outcome of your fundraising efforts.
In practice, these guidelines are all linked with the human aspect of business. If you approach investors as people rather than as potential sources of funds, you are more likely to create relationships that, in the long run, can offer you and your business much more than money.
At Oxentia we help institutions, governments, and industry clients manage and enable innovation. Great part of our work entails working with entrepreneurs around the world to ensure that disruptive ideas enter the market for the good of economies and societies. If you are interested in pre-acceleration and acceleration services from entrepreneurs or intrapreneurship training for businesses, get in touch with us.