Top Ten Tips for Raising Capital: Gems of Wisdom From The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series
As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. This week's hot topic is: raising capital.
"In general I recommend to start getting acquainted with the VC world as early as possible. Talk to people that raised money and ask for advice. Get to know VCs as early as possible so they can get to know you and see that you're making progress. Also, make sure your industry is relevant to the VC’s portfolio, many say clearly on their website what they're looking for and what they're not interested in. Make sure to understand term sheets, have someone sit down with you and talk you through it.
"Some investors seem to be more open to female founders than others, check their team and portfolio and see how many female founders they have; it'll be easier to talk to the ones that support women".
"My advice for female entrepreneurs looking to raise funds: Stop giggling, but don’t forget to show the passion for your business. Be better prepared than anyone else in the room.
And: don’t forget that you know many people with experience in all kinds of business aspects – ask them! Most people are happy to share experiences".
"It’s important that investors share your corporate DNA, otherwise they might end up running the company and making strategic decisions rather than you.
"Raising small amounts from a range of people can help, although looking after those shareholders may take a little more time, it ensures that control and the direction of the company remains with the management team".
"It’s easier than it’s ever been for women to access capital, although I recognize that that’s not saying much! But with the options expanding, I think women can afford to get more selective about the kind of investors they look for and bring into the business.
"The evolving climate also means women can get bolder about their ask and stand firmer with negotiating a fair deal".
"The most important piece of advice I would offer to an entrepreneur looking to raise funds would be to not lose sight – or control – of the reason they started the company in the first place. You really have to do your homework and make sure that anyone wanting to come into your business shares your passion and commitment to your corporate culture and has the ability to really help you grow your business".
"The big difference I see in female and male entrepreneurs is their sense of conviction.
"The best advice I can give female entrepreneurs for pitching their businesses is to have a vision, strategy & data and be very firm about your thoughts. In other words, sell, sell, sell the investors and make them believe in you and your business".
"Funding was our biggest challenge, in that I chose not to have any. Every entrepreneur has to weigh what they’re willing to risk, simply because so many businesses fail. I wasn’t willing to risk my family home. So I jumped without a safety net—and without that cushion, I really had no other option than to succeed.
"If I could pass on anything I learned from that, it would be to tell a potential entrepreneur to save ahead: put away a year’s salary, pay your mortgage six months out, do a few things that let you sleep at night".
"We definitely recommend crowd-funding platforms such as IndieGoGo to aspiring entrepreneurs. Through IndieGoGo’s easy-to-use platform, they can broadcast their passion and story and get support".
"My best advice for other female entrepreneurs is - unless you're a certified financial professional yourself - to engage a professional business manager or accountant to help you see your business objectively and to be a source of 'sober counsel'. The right financial manager can also help to introduce you to business partners who can make a contribution to your business.
"The best growth is organic. Raising a huge pot of money can be dangerous for a new company in an uncertain economy. It's better to raise the minimum you need to get to the next step, then work on generating revenue before you jump to the next level".
"I think it’s very empowering for a start-up to actually get to sustainable revenue generation without outside capital if you can. It instills a different discipline and unleashes creativity and a sense of urgency that is hard to replicate when you have a bank balance".
The Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) celebrates the wonderful accomplishments of women in business, whilst looking forward at how we can progress and learn from each other. Natural networkers and relationship builders, women have innate flair for entrepreneurship. With DWEN, Dell is helping women in business to expand their networks while offering technology capabilities designed to help them innovate and grow their businesses.
The NextWomen is in partnership with DWEN to bring you a series of 40 interviews with the world's most influential female founders, investors and decision makers: The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series.
Sign Up to our Newsletter
So you enjoy The NextWomen. Why not sign up to our monthly newsletter?
You get a Letter from the CEO :-), the chance to catch up with the best of our recent articles - and some extra things we throw in once in a while.