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Ask Guild
Sep 22, 2020
In General Discussions
Raising capital is never easy. Many founders reached out to us asking how do we raise in shorter span? Is there a fundraising model that can help us sail through rapidly without loosing excessive time. In our response, we devised North Star program, that caters to fundraising scenarios and realities of new world post COVID. It is the next gen fund raising model. If you want to be successful in raising capital this year or in near future, then you may want to know about the NEW AGE MODEL for raising capital. It’s not the 1990s anymore. We don’t use typewriters anymore, and investors don’t expect a 100-page business plan. So why is it that most people are still following old school fund raise rules? Just drifting along, wasting 9-12 months on roadshows & investor meetings, when it can be done in <4 months? There’s nothing wrong with the old model. Slow and steady wins the race right? Not if, every extra day spent on fundraising, is a day less spent on your growing your business. Your competitor will use the same time, get more revenue. Let’s talk about the NEW MODEL- HIGH RESOLUTION FUNDRAISING MOMENTUM At Venture Handle, We use 4P model. Preparation, Pitch, Pod and Process. A simple sequence, Skip any of them and your fundraise will just derail. We have used this model effectively, and the numbers hold true all the way for our clients. Our founders have used these tenets even during COVID to successfully close rounds. They’re well proven. This 4P model will provide an actionable set of steps to move away from worrying about booking new meetings or struggling to put together a solid pitch, and just focus on getting those investors over the line with this model. Don’t worry – Many of our founders initially tried the old method, we call it “Spray and Pray”, for 8- 9 months wondering when will they get an investor to sign a check. But after months and months of chasing investors, scrambling ramen noodles on the floor, they were at the brink of giving up, until…. Here’s what makes the new model so successful: momentum. Once you get momentum, what we teach our clients to do, you can rinse and repeat too. Once you have framed the right messages, used the win themes, in the right deck, with the right angle, and the right forward momentum toward the close, the sky is literally the limit because you already know how to get investors to pull out their checkbooks. What is 4P? Preparation: Preparation is what you do before you approach investors. It’s not just “create the deck & make a list of investors” it’s getting yourself 100% educated on the next steps, because in order to be effective you need to know the road and know what to do at every turn. What are the issues that most investors would pick from a slide pack. Why are investors looking at what they are looking at. Once you understand that as a founder, you will see yourself leading your pitch and answering the questions even before they are floated. That's the magic of this step. At Venture Handle, We use our North-Star program to use a fine-tooth comb approach and pick out the minutest possible details of the business. We help in setting founders up so that they’ve done everything they can possibly do to increase value before you even enter the infamous investor-pitch conference room. We set up a dedicated data room for founders, pitch script, objection handler and video pitch hosted in data room. Making it so that you have the absolute best possible chance to totally crush it in your pitch. Pitch: This is what goes on in your cold-call process, warm intros & the actual pitch itself. Your delivery, your story, your interaction, your timing, your focus – it’s all critical. You must nail it. And when you have this system of generating investor meetings, and in what order, and then how to run your pitch – well it’s just a matter of time before you move them along toward the close. A pitch is like a sales process. You focus on understanding the sales cycle and move the process one step at a time to next. that's EXACTLY what a good pitch does. It inflates the balloon to deliver sharp messages that will remain with the investors. Pod: One particular area that we want to focus in increasing conversion of founders is using Pitch Pods. Pitch Decks are broken. Pitch deck have not changed in ages. Think about it, Banks have become app, schools have become a link but pitch decks are still in grandpa age. Here are the reasons why pitch deck needs to change: Pitch decks go through updates, iterate and go back and forth, iterate etc.., and founders end up with multiple version of same deck with multiple version floating in market. Pitch decks get passed on as standalone document and very often looking at pitch without voiceover would not do justice. Founders don't have a way of engaging prospect/investors who are looking at pitch deck. Its one way communication. It makes the process to passive. Follow-ups are even worse. Founders would "Spray and Pray". Mostly, one way email and hoping that investor would respond back. Little leverage for founders. Deals rarely closed in one meeting. Investors who want track the progress for a particular startup, would have to keep asking for information at regulars intervals or set up meetings, which is again not very efficient. We help founders to make Pitch Pods. It is an unique way to tell your startup's story in a more interactive way. It includes multiple elements. Pitch decks as standalone document get lost in hundreds of emails that investors get, but pitch pods leave a long lasting impression behind in the minds of investors. Process: This is the real secret sauce because this is where everybody fails. Because the rainmakers just keep making rain & magicians don’t ever give up their secrets except to other magicians. Well here I’m telling you this is where the magic happens. By knowing the little tips & tricks, you’re keeping investors on that straight line to the close. Think about it: you put together a great deck, then you had a great pitch… and then what? It means that someone’s in control of the closing process, it’s either you or them. Me personally, I’d rather always be in control of my own business’s fate, timeline, process & interaction. And I bet you do too. Do you want some investor dictating terms? Intentionally delaying you so he can get a better deal out of you. What does that say about how they are going to act once they’re an actual shareholder? Not a good way to start a relationship. So in the process, You, as a founder, have to be in control. It was you who started the company, and now because somebody shows up with some money, all of a sudden you are looking for answers from someone else? I don’t think so. So you have to run a capital raise like you run your business: efficient & in control at all times. We do a very structured 6 weeks run in the Venture Handle NorthStar Program. So, you've pitched Let’s consider the post pitch scenario. So you just delivered your pitch, it was pretty good, investor looks like they’re getting it, you feel that it has so far gone well and now flip to the last slide, and you show the final page of your deck which says: “Thank You, really? What are you thanking them for? Many founders are still in this old mindset and think this is a strong way to close a presentation. This is exactly what the old method preaches. And you know what, they are right, because they’re delivering presentations. New Age Method is more about pitching to raise not just inform using a presentation. So how is a pitch different from presentation? The pitch should have the objective of making a close. a presentation informs while A pitch closes!. Start with the end game in mind. Here is a quick bite about North Star Program. We’ve structured the North-Star Program so that Founders run a tight ship, not a loose spray and pray approach. If you would like to join North Star program, then apply here: https://www.venturehandle.com/northstar
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Ask Guild
Nov 26, 2019
In Slack feed
Thanks for your Nomination. Please see the panel of committee members below: 1. Product & Tech Jhilmil Kochhar Adhir Potdar Nidhish Alex Harish Kachariya 2. Sales, Marketing and Growth Sudhir Karande Rohit Ghosh Jeet Vithalani 3. Legal, Compliance Amol Deshmukh 4. Investor Outreach Anant Tripathi Rishi Wahi Abhinav Raj 5. People & Talent Vishal Malhotra Abhay Negi Thanks Srikant
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Ask Guild
Nov 22, 2019
In Slack feed
Dear Cohort Members, Just a quick refresh of actions for founders to close by today: Complete your forum profiles (all co-founders) My Dashboard Go through On-boarding Guide shared (Link) Join Slack channels (all co-founders) My Dashboard Complete weekly Update -Week 1 My Dashboard Nominate for committee (email to: srikant@venturehandle.com) Raise SOAR Chart My Dashboard (optional) Thanks Srikant P.S - My Dashboard section can use used to access all the tools and updates
Week 1: Closeout Actions ( Nov-Dec) Cohort  content media
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Ask Guild
Sep 06, 2019
In Slack feed
Pune Chapters of IIT Kanpur & IIT Delhi Alumni associations present "Startup Master Class (SMC)" the Mega Startup and Entrepreneurial Event in Pune on 29th September 2019. Please register here https://www.eventglint.com/e/smc-pune-2019?pcode=EUk9dIlsXf Thanks Rup
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Ask Guild
May 07, 2019
In Slack feed
Here are few thoughts to consider A relatively easy way of raising fund is by approaching Angle investor. So, who are Angel investor? Angle investors are known to provide financial support at an early stage in your startup journey. While Angle investors presents a good funding options here are some trade offs. What works with Angle investors? 1. An Angel Investor is willing to take a risk at an early stage, sometime even at ideation stage. 2. Angles investors take relatively lesser time to commit compare to large investors. Very often they are themselves entrepreneur hence understands the levers involved in the investment opportunity. 3. Angle investors actively participate and provide credible advice to the founder. Any external consultant would typically charge for that type of advice. 4. Often Angle investors agree to top up in a bigger follow up round if they find good merit in the deal. 5. Backing of an Angle investor provides a good validation for the startup to bring in bigger investors. 6. Unlike the banks an Angle investor is interested in sharing the rewards once the startups succeed. The money provided by the Angle investor is not a loan. What are the common challenges? 1. Angle investors have high expectations for return, and this may lead to conflict between the founders and the Angle investors regarding the growth strategy. 2. The equity obtained by the Angle investor in return for the capital give them a percentage of ownership that may impact founder’s share of profitability. Founders needs to be careful while negotiating on the terms of the investment. 3. Angel investor often want visibility in decision making and may influence the decision as well. While this may be helpful to the founder when they are seeking advice, at times this may backfire and cause dissatisfaction for the founder if the investor is not fully involved in the intricacies. 4. In Indian context Angle investors are rarely full-time investors and they may often carry the constraints of their existing business that can adversely impact the vision of startup. 5. Sometimes first time Angle investor use the investment opportunity as a learning and may drain out the founders because of their lack of exposure.
Got intro to Angel investor? content media
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Ask Guild
Jan 13, 2019
In Slack feed
It is true that there are several similarities between venture capitalists and angel investors. Both are actively looking for investment opportunities and therefore they make good contacts for the ambitious entrepreneur who is seeking capital to grow his/her startup. However, there are differences between the two which will alter the process of recruiting funds from these types of investors. Angel Investor: An angel investor is a high net worth individual who may invest in startups using personal funds. Sometimes investing in startups is the core operation of the individual. Other times, an angel investor may have more of a passive approach to investing. On occasion, angel investors will network and create angel investor groups. Venture Capitalist: A venture capitalist is a partner in an organization known as a venture capital firm. The firm is comprised of limited partners, who contribute their own capital into a fund which is then managed by the general partner. The LPs and GPs, as they are often referred to, will actively source deals and collaborate on operation of the fund. In order to get a more specific understanding of the differences, let's take a look at how each type of investor operates in different key areas. At what stage to they invest? Angel investors typically participate in seed funding, providing early stage capital to startups who may not have any existing operations to speak of. This capital is used to get office space and build platforms, often leading to the first few customers of the startup. Venture capitalists, on the other hand, prefer to invest in startups which already have an existing client base. They are looking to provide capital that will bring a startup to the next level. How much do they invest? Since angel investors are typically getting in on the ground floor, they are less likely to risk significant capital. A lot of their funds will go towards developing a "proof of concept" which, if successful, will go on to form the basis of a business operation. However, many times these concepts do not pan out, in which case the angel investor loses all capital invested. Expect an angel investor to contribute around $25-100k. Venture capitalists, who are typically better funded and only looking at deals with existing customers, are likely to invest far more. Often, venture capitalists will contribute in the range of $1-10MM on a Series A. How actively do they get involved? The differences aren't as well defined in this category. Typically, both angel investors and venture capitalists will want to be actively involved in the startup's operation, in order to ensure that their interests are being represented. The degree of this involvement can vary from firm to firm, and from investor to investor. However, you can bet that both types of investors will want a heavy say in the operations of your startup. Who are the decision makers? Unless they are part of an angel network, most angel investors will make the decision to invest (or not) on their own. With the exception of possible intervention from their spouse, the angel investor will be ready to invest once you have demonstrated a convincing and diligent overview of your startup. Venture capitalists are typically more organized entities, and therefore they will conduct comprehensive internal due diligence. You may start by approaching an LP who will then take your idea to the board for a collective review. Before any capital is contributed to your startup, the venture capital firm will conduct a thorough joint analysis and leave the investing decision to a vote. Key takeaways: Before you begin prospecting for capital, first evaluate the stage of your startup and the amount of funding you need. This amount should not be arbitrary; investors will want to know exactly what you intend to use their money for, down to the last dollar. Once your objectives are clear, you should decide whether you need to contact angel investors, venture capitalists, or both (this is not unheard of). Then, write your pitch deck and start reaching out to a qualified list of potential investors.
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Ask Guild
Jan 13, 2019
In Slack feed
Before you begin writing your pitch, first you should zoom all the way out and consider who you are trying to reach. Obviously, your goal is to use your time wisely and get your idea in front of key contacts who can help your business succeed. There are several types of people who may fit this role, from venture capital partners, to talent recruiting agencies, to potential joint venture relationships. That said, you should always know who your audience is and frame your pitch in a way that speaks to their own goals or objectives. By presenting your idea in a way that makes sense to them, your chances of capturing their active attention increase dramatically. Venture capitalist: Speaking to a venture capital partner about your business plan can be intimidating. After all, these are the folks with the deep pockets. The key to dealing with this anxiety is to remember that, in their eyes, you represent an opportunity to make those pockets even deeper. The goal of the venture capitalist is to invest in private companies, offering capital in exchange for equity, and facilitating opportunities for that equity to grow. Now, in what ways can you leverage this knowledge to make your pitch more compelling? You should speak in terms of market size, scalability, and competition. You should have one sentence devoted to each aspect of the DuPont Framework (profit margin, asset turnover, and leverage). Know your ratios, especially cash conversion cycle. These are the metrics a venture capitalist will want to know about, because these metrics speak directly to their fundamental objective: turning money into more money. Angel investor: Similar to venture capital partners, angel investors are looking to deploy their capital onto the front lines and hope they come home with more. However, there are some key differences between angel investors and venture capitalists, and you should be aware of them. The key difference is that angel investors will often invest at earlier stages than venture capitalists. This means that angel investors also tend to invest a lot less money, as their investments are more speculative in nature. If you are pitching to angel investors, you likely have less financial data to report. Therefore, you should demonstrate the vitality of your startup by focusing on your own credentials (more on this later), as well as any previous relationships which you bring to the table that will help your business succeed. Round this off with a brief discussion about the ease of scalability and resiliency of your idea. Because you have limited financial data to impress the angel investor, you must convey yourself as the company's strongest asset. Talent recruiter: When you are building your enterprise, it will be critical that you attract the right kind of talent to your firm. Since competent and passionate leaders are a limited resource, you will need to recruit these individuals by demonstrating your value relative to other firms they are considering. These people will be interested in the opportunity to grow with a company from the ground floor and make a difference in their industry. As they hear your pitch, they should imagine themselves shaping the future. If you lack the financial ability to offer a competitive salary, consider offering stock options. Joint venture partner: One of the best ways to help your startup grow is to develop joint venture partnerships with other businesses that serve your ideal customer. By sharing customers via cross-promotional methods, your joint venture partnership reduces your marketing expenses and your cost per new customer acquisition. The key to locking down joint venture relationships is to make them an offer they can't refuse. Remember again to consider the goal of your audience. Your prospective joint venture partner must believe that you offer a quality product with integrity, as their reputation will be linked to yours through the joint venture. After considering this step, you will likely realize that your pitch should be tweaked for each type of partner that you are approaching. Place your idea in the context of their own goals and you will benefit greatly. Action Items: Write a list of the goals and objectives of each type of person you are going to pitch. Consider how your startup helps meet their goals. What are they trying to achieve, and how does your firm fit that vision? Tailor your pitch to fit their needs and emphasize relevant strengths.
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Ask Guild
Jan 13, 2019
In Slack feed
Just as you should introduce your startup concept in a way that highlights its strengths, so should you introduce yourself. There is a significant perceived correlation between the integrity of a leader and the culture of the organization under his/her leadership. Now is the time to do a deep dive into your own self and ask the question: which of my qualities make me a reliable investment prospect? This process can be somewhat intensive. As entrepreneurs, we are often so focused on understanding and influencing the external world that we sometimes forget to put in the same work on ourselves. Here is a good exercise to start figuring out which characteristics make you an excellent leader: Consider some of the biggest challenges you have faced over the years. How did you solve them? What qualities did you rely on to change your circumstances from dire to prosperous? Instruct each of your team members to complete this exercise as well. Once you have finished, put these ideas together and figure out what are the key qualities that you collectively bring to the table. Venture capitalists and angel investors are interested in teams that work well together. Specifically, they are looking for a combination of talent, experience, respect, follow through, adaptability, and resilience. You should come up with situations in which your team has come together to embody all of these concepts. Although you shouldn't share these stories during your pitch, you should have them available, as any interested investor will likely ask you for examples. Once you have come up with a deeper understanding of the intrinsic value of your team, work together to come up with a modest yet declarative statement that portrays your strengths. Here is an example: "With over 45 years of collective experience, our team is well aware of the lesser-known intricacies of our industry. We leverage this expertise towards innovation by maintaining a strong emphasis on mutual respect, adaptability, and follow through." Action Items: Reflect on past challenges and how you solved them to discover your core qualities as a leader. Work with your team to come up with a list of personal attributes that make your firm highly valuable in the eyes of a VC. Distill these qualities into a precise statement about the intrinsic value of your team.
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Ask Guild
Jan 13, 2019
In Slack feed
Defining the problem that your startup solves is a critical part of pitching investors. This is where you move beyond understanding your investor audience and the unique strengths of your team and actually move into a brief discussion about the industry in which your startup operates. To begin this step, think back to when you first started your new business. What was the observation that preceded your idea? In other words, what is the problem that your startup aims to solve? Why does your startup need to exist in the first place? All successful enterprises are built in response to a specific and well defined need. This can be as simple as the need for a cheaper, better cup of coffee in your hometown, or as advanced as the need for access to malaria vaccinations in the developing world. Your potential investor will want to know the nature of the problem that your firm is able to profitably solve. However, simply establishing the need is only half the equation. Next, you must define the outer limits of that need. Specifically, how many people are in your potential market? What is the overall purchasing power of that market? What is their willingness to pay for a solution to this need? Don't get too hung up on specific demographics and things of that nature. Remember, this is a pitch, not a business plan. The point is to convey 1) there is a problem 2) there are enough people suffering from the problem that it would be profitable and scalable to build a business around solving it. This step is all about conveying the size and accessibility of your potential market to the investor. Do not begin discussing the solution that your firm brings to the table just yet. Instead, focus on establishing the need. You will have a chance to discuss your solution (as well as what the competition, if any, is doing wrong) in later sections. Action Items: Describe the problem or need that your startup aims to solve. Define the outer limits of that problem. How big of a market does this need represent? Answer the question, "why does your startup need to exist in the first place?"
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Ask Guild
Jan 13, 2019
In General Discussions
At this point, it is time for you to address how your startup solves the problem that you established. The trick is to express the solution with surgical precision; do not get caught up in the details. Instead, focus on the essence of your solution. Try to explain it as though you are talking to someone who is a stranger to your industry. As Ben Franklin once said, "If I'd had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." There is value in brevity. If you are able to convey your solution in just a few short phrases, you will demonstrate to your audience that you have a high level understanding of your own work. Many times, entrepreneurs get caught up in a linear way of thinking which traps them into thinking that details are bigger than they really are. Communicating your solution is different from listing all of your products and services. Whenever you find yourself making this mistake, revert back to the more abstract form of your solution. What is the fundamental solution that your startup brings to the table? You should also demonstrate that your solution has built in desirable features, such as: scalability, resilience to competition, network effects, viral marketability, robust supply chain, etc (these are just examples). Your audience will want to know about these aspects of your business, as they translate into profits. The solution section should be focused on building value and generating interest, rather than sharing details or action plans. The latter topics are reserved for follow-up discussions and strategy sessions, which take place after you have already secured the curiosity of your investor audience. Many startup founders make this mistake: they assume that their investor audience is already interested in their idea, and skip directly into the details of their business plan. This is wrong. The elevator pitch is called a "pitch" for a reason, you are performing a sales role when you deliver it. Therefore, you should always emphasize benefits, rather than features, when explaining your solution to a prospective investor. Action Items: Write your solution to the problem which you identified in the previous step. How does your startup solve the problem? In a few short phrases, explain how your solution is unique and scalable. Use compelling language. This is a sales pitch. Don't get caught up on explaining the "features" of your solution. Instead, translate them into benefits.
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Ask Guild
Dec 31, 2018
In General Discussions
It’s good to have you here! Feel free to share anything - stories, ideas, pictures or whatever is on your mind. Here you can start discussions, connect with members, reply to comments, and more. Have something to say? Leave a comment or share a post!
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