Goodwin Procter partner Bob Bishop and The Capital Network (TCN) Board member Jean Hammond recently held a Google Hangout at Northeastern University’s IDEA accelerator to discuss how entrepreneurs can successfully secure funding. The Hangout is the first in TCN’s “On Air” series.
Bob opened the program with an introduction to Founders Workbench. “We created Founders Workbench as a way to give back to the community by giving entrepreneurs the basic legal tools and documents they need to launch their companies,” he said, before highlighting many of the site’s key features, including Document Driver, Capital Calculator, and Deal Dictionary.
Next, Jean, who helped fund such notable startups as Zipcar and Crimson Hexagon, spoke in-depth about the funding process and offered guidance on how to maneuver through the deal process, including these five tips:
1. Know what type of company you are – Companies typically fall into four categories: social venture, normal growth, high growth, or extreme growth company. Funding sources are specialists in a specific area, so knowing the type of company you are will help guide you on where you should look for capital.
2. Be aware of the capital sources that are available to you – From crystallized ideas to sustained growth, at every stage of company development there are traditional and alternative sources of capital as funding resources.
3. Understand what the investor is looking for – Understanding the types of companies in which investors are interested will enable you to customize your pitch appropriately. Be prepared to present information on your product, the market, and how your product and team will meet the market need.
4. Surround yourself with seasoned entrepreneurs – If you are a young entrepreneur, you represent a high risk for investors. To reduce risk, adding experienced businesspeople as corporate advisors will add “gravitas” and bring diversity to the team.
5. Leverage local entrepreneurial communities – Getting involved, networking, building relationships and learning from others’ failures and successes will only help you when it comes time to seek your own funding.
To learn more about funding options for early stage ventures, watch the full video of the Hangout below.