Have you ever caught yourself saying to someone that it’s not what they say, but what they do that counts? This holds true in most aspects of life, including how and why investments do and don’t pay off.
It’s that time of year when many of us take stock in our lives, what we have accomplished, and the people who are a part of it. I feel fortunate that I got to spend Thanksgiving with my quirky and loving family. They might not look perfect, but they love perfect, which is how I prefer it.
Discover your niche
You are what you do. No matter your field, what you do on a daily basis molds your expertise, thereby making you some-kind-of an expert. To become an expert in your industry, you must not only aim to refine your skills, but to more clearly define them. Aim to discover your niche. The most successful entrepreneurs are not necessarily the thought leaders of their industries. Rather, they are highly specialized experts who have worked tirelessly to define and uphold a personal brand associated with a select set of skills within their industry.
If you’ve started your own business, you’re familiar with late nights and early mornings, the painstaking brainstorming sessions, and the constant feeling that you’re falling behind. There’s also that constant nagging feeling that if you could just get an extra hand or another perspective, you’d be on track. While it is clear that a startup can benefit greatly from mentorship, few consider the benefits from the other side. What can you gain from becoming a startup mentor? Mentoring can be a truly rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. The collaborative process creates an environment for shared learning, allowing you to utilize your past experience, entrepreneurial prowess and rolodex to strengthen existing relationships and to build ones.
Investing in startups via an incubator, tech accelerator, or a VC fund is one of the best things you can do for your portfolio and your personal brand. But like anything else, there are unspoken rules for getting the most out of the experience and making it an enjoyable, meaningful relationship. Here are some of our favorite do’s and don’ts for getting the most out of your investment experience.
Wednesday night we held our first ever Gauntlet Syndicate Dinner. Selery and Tech EdVentures, the first two companies to make it to Level 5, presented in front of our investors to see who wanted to exercise their allocation rights in the seed rounds. We’ll release the final numbers at Pitch Day, but suffice it to say, most investors asked for more than their allocation.
When you’ve put your heart and soul into your business, you’re eager to get it out there. We get it! But not too fast - make sure you have these key factors to ensure you’ve covered all your bases before strutting your stuff to the investors. They’re going to ask you numerous intricate and sometimes invasive questions about what your business is, how you run it, and how you plan on keeping it viable for the future.
“Having the following items prepared before looking for funding shows that you are ready to take investment capital," says Gab. "If these things aren’t available when an investor asks for them, you look like an amateur and your valuation, should you even get an offer, will reflect it.”
With our level 5 syndicate meeting fast approaching, here are some of the most critical items we ensure our startups have before getting in front of investors. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive; this is the bare minimum.
Starting a business from scratch is a major undertaking. Along the way come many bumps in the road that can often throw them off track. One of the most valuable resources to a start up company is a mentor - they can guide you, coach you, and give you real-world advice from their years of experience. In order for a successful mentorship to form, it is important that the mentee understands how to effectively work with a mentor. From our experiencing deep-diving into plenty of portfolios, here are some things to keep in mind during your interaction with your mentor: