Over 50 people kicked off the beginning of 2017 by attending a workshop on “How to Raise your First Round of Funding” in Camden Town, London. An event hosted by Hiroes, a start-up that successfully raised a seed round of £170,000 to revolutionise the way people organise events. Raphael and Salome, the founders of Hiroes said: “We wanted to help other people who aren’t sure where to begin once they made a commitment to start their own business, just like us a year ago. There are a million things to consider and it’s normal to feel lost and drawn in the amount of ideas and things to focus on. So now that our business is growing steadily – we wanted to share the lessons we learned along the way.”
And so they did, by inviting 3 speakers – leaders and entrepreneurs from Chew.TV, TheFamily and Crowdcube, who shared their advices based on personal experience and spoke about how to attract the right investors, what to focus on as a first-time entrepreneur and where you can start. Investors and entrepreneurs with big dreams gathered together to meet, discuss ideas and teach each other valuable lessons.
Rob, who went to at least 7 investment gatherings in the last few months, learning what is happening to the investment scene in London, announces: “This was the most informative investment event I have been to so far! There were 3 different voices here – with their perspectives and advices – who explained every point until the questions were finished and I got to meet them after the event!”
Here are the summaries of the key speeches:
“London has fantastic people with a lot of money to spend. Raising in here is relatively simple” – says Chew TV’s CEO Wil Benton. With 400,000 users and no marketing budget they raised £320,000 in the last year to keep up with their growth. Its CEO best advice to those who are just starting is to go to workshops, networking events and any relevant business gathering where potential investors are. Best networking meet-up to secure an investment is City Meets Tech, according to him. It consists of quarterly startup pitch events where approximately 8 startups pitch to a room full of business angel investors. Statistically 1 out of 3 pitched companies get funding through City Meets Tech. Once you’ve raised – don’t expect it all at once, give your idea time to pick up. Investor update mail shall be sent at least every month, as you need to establish trust and consistent relationship with them.
“Raising Capital is a full-time job” – states Younès Rharbaoui, one of the leading specialists of TheFamily, “so don’t raise unless you absolutely must in order to survive and succeed. Simply focus on your business”.
Since 2013, TheFamily has worked with 450 startups, helping them raising money for their business ideas. They strongly advised to skip the seed round, the more you wait to raise – the better. That way you skip all the investors who might make you sign on bad terms. You don’t want someone who you need to drag along. You will work with those initial partners, so it is important to share the same views and be happy with them for your whole entrepreneurial journey. Younès warns those who are just starting to “be careful with City investors, at the end of the year when they get a big bonus, they either spend it on fun or on investments, and those that will invest in you might give you poor advices on how to do things, but bear in mind that they are focused on strategies that are tailored for big corporations, not start-ups”. Some people just feed on others, so when finding a solid start-up idea, some investors demand outrageous and unfair terms of partnership, knowing that you are desperate to lift your idea off the ground.
Younès then went into detail on the 4 reasons for investors to be interested in your idea, and in order to succeed, you, as a start-up owner need to understand which reasons you can use and which ones are your strengths.
- Your team: Investors will pay attention to your team. If possible, you should have team members with different expertises. Be picky when choosing who will join you.
- Social proof: Get the money from someone influential. If you manage to do so, others will follow according to the fear of missing out (#FOMO). Don’t take it as a strategy, but rather use that as a tool if you know someone famous and influential.
- The likability of the product/technology: If an investor tries out what you are offering and loves it – he is most probably going to invest. If that is your strength – don’t launch publicly before the big investments come in, launch privately and show the uniqueness of the product to investors.
- Traction: Major aspect that you really need when looking for solid investments. It’s that 1 metric that is hopefully off the charts. The more people check your website and your services, the more money capital it will bring.
Crowdcube is the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, an alternative method of financing a business, which allows anyone to invest as little as they want. Crowdcube helps start-ups raise from £50,000 to £10 millions. Recently, they’ve recorded their largest investment made from a single investor of £1 million and … it was made through an iPhone! Today, companies that are accepted to pitch on Crowdcube have 62% of chances to get funded. Mike Royston, Senior Equity at Crowdcube and one of the first employee of the company says the secret to getting investors is the credibility and confidence of the team. Investors mainly pay attention to the team, the idea, the vision and most of all to your pitch. Mike has also highlighted that it is really important to find the “sweet spot” when looking for investors. The sweet spot is the intersection between Your Crowd (3 Fs : friend, family and fools); Crowdcube’s Crowd (Crowdcube’s own network of investors) and your Business Crowd (customers and users).
Oli, an investment analyst for Syndicate room, an investment platform, travelled all the way from Cambridge in order to meet those who are thinking about raising for their ideas: “I met a rare few individuals that we might work with in the future”.
A young entrepreneur, Emmanuel, shares his opinion: “Incredibly informative evening for those that are in the early stage and who wants to know how to get funding and how to accelerate your business. It is also a perfect place to meet those who understand your struggle as they are in the same boat as you. You can build relationships and meet a lot of interesting people whose progress motivates me to proceed with pursuing my dream”.
Note from Hiroes Team: We would like to thank all the ones that attended our event. It’s been a great pleasure organising it. We will definitely keep you updated for the next one. If you don’t want to miss any news, you can subscribe to our newsletter on www.hiroes.co 🙂