Money, money, money must be funny!
Could have our four passionate speakers written Abba’s famous song?
During almost two hours, our four compelling investors and entrepreneurs,
Diego Braguglia: Managing Partner of VI partners
Amin Shokrollahi: founder and CEO of Kandou Bus
Patrick Thiébaud: founder and CEO of Wealthings Horizon
Andreas Schollin-Borg: co-founder and CEO of Batmaid and Gotham
shared their insider tips and their practical experiences on financing.
They answered both the moderators and the audience's burning questions, and also shared their successes and mistakes to bring actionable solutions to facilitate financings.
Many of you attended the event FINANCE YOUR BUSINESS that we organized with Fidag and the support of EPFL and VentureLab. I would like to thank you for your presence and all your questions.
Even if each funding project is different from another, and the reasons for successes or failures cannot be standardized, allow me to highlight the tricks and tips shared by our four speakers:
Diego Braguglia - managing partner @ VI Partners AG - identified the people as one of the key element when investing in a company. Diego added that the business sector, the market and the exit strategy were also taken into strong consideration by VC’s in their investment decision.
Diego Braguglia also mentioned that VI Partners was often requesting to become part of the board or the advisory board but did not necessarily request any specific reporting or KPI except the standard ones.
He stated that VI Partners’ added value was the extensive business network put at the disposal of the invested companies.
NEVER GIVE UP
Andreas Schollin-Borg - founder and co-CEO @ Batmaid - highlighted that persistence and resilience were key and founders should never give up when receiving none or negative answers from VCs.
VC's lack of consideration does not mean that your business cannot be successful.
There are other ways to finance your business such as strategic corporate partners (refer to the presentation below)
Same when you did secure the fundings: this does not mean that your business model is the good one, and that the company will become a unicorn but it validates the fact that the VCs believe it could make money.
DECISION LIES ON THE FOUNDERS SIDE AS WELL
Patrick Thiébaud - founder and CEO @ Wealthings Horizon - pointed out that the decision on fundings, is on both the investors and the founders side.
To make the story short: entrepreneurs need to know what kind of investors they want on board.
Patrick stressed that is it key for the investor and the entrepreneur to share similar values and goals. Otherwise, sooner or later, it would become an issue.
Patrick Thiébaud, also suggested to avoid investors who need a job and invest in your company for this specific reason.
INVESTORS NEED TO LEAD THE UPCOMING ROUNDS
Amin Shokrollahi - founder and CEO @ Kandou Bus - added that your first investor should ideally be the one to lead any upcoming founding rounds and support you to get the funds needed for your growth.
He also gave the example that founders should not invest too much time on Excel worksheet, building five year-rolling budget and forecasts as investors ultimately dedicate limited time on financials. Indeed, these assumptions will naturally change overtime.
Yet, he recommended being consistent between the speech and the figures’ trend.
BE CREATIVE TO CONTACT INVESTORS
Founders have to build innovative solutions to get in contact with VC.
Pitches can also be made at a street corner or in the public transportation as VC receive thousands of requests and only analyze a few.
So, the recommendation is stand out and be unforgettable !
FINANCING IS NOT AN OBJECTIVE
All speakers mentioned that financing cannot be considered as an objective per se, but only as a way to reach objectives that are intrinsically linked to your company maturity.
Entrepreneurs also need to consider that it takes on average 12 to 15 months, between the decision to get funds and the final agreement.
Our speakers also added that looking for funds will take 100% of the founder’s time, and this needs to be seriously taken into account since as a consequence, the founder will not be able to focus on the business.
BUILD A MID-TERM FUNDING OUTLOOK
Even if it is difficult to build forecasts, the speakers recommended to get a mid-term view on the funds needed at the different stages and on the evolution of the equity and control.
Based on this outlook, they recommended to go as fast as possible on the market to position the product/service, and secure market share quickly.
On the equity control, Amin Shokrollahi’s view is that the control is important but is not limited to the equity. It means that entrepreneurs might have 51% of the equity but still not in a position to drive the company.
Consequently, he highlighted the importance of controlling the company through the CEO and the executive team competences and skills.
Regarding the CEO, Diego Braguglia added that different skills and competences are needed, depending on the stage and maturity of the company; as a consequence, investors might recommend changing the CEO to address different challenges.
TO CONCLUDE ON MONEY!
Last but not least, the speakers concluded by mentioning that money should not be the trigger to create a company as only very limited entrepreneurs actually become rich with their company.
Who said Money Money Money must be funny?
Probably not our four speakers!