Fundraising

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, Principal of WhiteSpace Consulting, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning." 

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once quipped, “Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't.” The same could be said about a startup. If people have to ask if it’s a business, it isn’t one - yet.

I recently heard two different founders pitch their concepts for the first time. One spoke at an open pitch event, describing a broad social media platform that would unite people of different backgrounds and tell their stories. The second founder presented a next-generation technology/entertainment concept to a small advisory group, in preparation for approaching investors.

By: Solomon Brenner, member of Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and Managing Director at Startup2angel

This post originally appeared on Startup2angel.

They all sounded good. All of them. I entered the world of angel investing 18 months ago and came to the immediate conclusion that every company seemed like a good idea. It’s like when I first started training in karate and thought every punch would result in a knockout. Surely, every opportunity wasn’t going to be the instant knockout investment success. Considering I couldn’t – and obviously shouldn’t – invest in all of them, I started looking for places with tips that I could use to help analyze each option.

Diane Perlman, Global CMO at MassChallenge

This post originally appeared on Gust.com

With startup growth up 61% since 2014 and more investment programs emerging, it can be overwhelming for founders to know just where to jump in. As the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet, MassChallenge has helped 835 startup companies around the world, who have raised over $1.1 billion in funding and created over 6,500 jobs. We have seen startups at all stages of growth and know whether the current need is an investment, support, or both, there is an option out there for you.

By: Joseph W. Bartlett, Special Counsel, McCarter & English LLP; Chair Emeritus, ACA Public Policy Advisory Council

Entrepreneurs waste a lot of time soliciting professionally managed venture funds. Venture capitalists operate according to their own largely unwritten rules. In order to play the funding game, you must learn these rules. Below, I’ve listed some of the most-common mistakes. They won’t tell you everything you’ll need to know, but these simple rules should help you understand the VC process and avoid an enormous waste of time, energy, and opportunity.

Rule #1: Choose the Appropriate Audience

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Today we send a special congratulations to our sister organization, the Angel Resource Institute, which is now the Angel Resource Institute at Willamette University.  ARI and Willamette University have developed this new joint venture, which should be a good result for ACA members, and angels and entrepreneurs in general.  More information about the joint venture is here.

As ARI Chairman, Michael Cain, said, “There is a natural fit between our two organizations. This partnership allows us to provide better service, enhance our research, and expand our training offering.”

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

As an entrepreneur, your pitch is arguably the most important message about your company’s investment-readiness that you will ever deliver. Most entrepreneurs develop two versions of a pitch: a short, elevator version, and a longer, investor presentation with a slide deck. Your elevator pitch is much more than a compressed investor presentation without the slide deck. It’s a precious few seconds of your listener’s attention in which to communicate your passion, describe your innovative product or service and clarify its value from an investor’s point of view.  

By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

Asked to explain his investment philosophy to a group of entrepreneurs, the founding partner of an investment fund put it this way: “There are only two things I care about: Can you make product, and can you sell product?”  If you’re the founder of a startup, you know first-hand that sales drive revenue, and revenue drives both investment and growth. How good are your sales skills?

All sales are the result of creating a connection with the buyer, and the best salespeople are adept at developing meaningful business relationships with their prospects. Here are some essentials to developing relationships like a sales pro.

By: Christopher Mirabile, ACA Board and Launchpad Venture Group

This post originally appeared on ScratchPaper.

Competent entrepreneurs can explain their company in terms of what the product does. Good entrepreneurs can explain their company in terms of their customer and their market. Fundedentrepreneurs can pitch their company in terms that an investor can relate to.

For most entrepreneurs, it’s not easy or intuitive to put the investor version of the story together. They can talk a blue streak about the product, the customer, maybe the market. But they cannot pitch the business as a good investment in a way the investor can quickly grab onto.

Turns out, there is an easy formula that works nearly universally. The key to this formula is that it covers all the required subjects, but strings them together into a coherent and engaging narrative flow. Once you grok the formula, it all kind of clicks and you suddenly understand what it is you are trying to convey. From then on, it’s easy.

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