Last night I attended a Skillshare class taught by Chris Dixon on how to raise your first round. Over the last few months I have probably been to 50+ meetups/events and this was definitely one of the most informative ones I have ever been to. Chris was extremely candid about the funding process and with his advice. It was really refreshing to hear his perspective on things. He told it like it is. I wanted to comment on a few things that he mentioned that really resonated with me:
Online Presence: Chris mentioned that its extremely important to have an online presence. The first time you meet an investor, one of the first things they do is google you to see what you are all about. If you don’t have much of an online presence (twitter, linkedin, a blog, comments on other’s blogs, meetups, etc) what is going to make them thing that you have a passion for tech or just a general interest in startups?
Domain Expertise: Something that Chris stressed was that he, and many other investors, invest in the people and the team. Of course the idea is important, however, the team and their ability to execute is even more so. What makes a team even more promising is if they have actual expertise in the industry, vertical, or market in which they are launching. There are a lot of bankers, consultants, and corporate employees trying to break into the startup world right now. The problem is while they may have good ideas, they often lack (1) the ability to execute (code/bring the idea to life) and (2) they lack the necessary startup knowledge. With the flood of startups looking for funding, it’s even harder today to raise money if you don’t have the necessary industry knowledge because someone else with that knowledge advantage is probably already working on the same idea.
B2C vs B2B: This is an obvious one but its nice to hear it from someone like Chris. The consumer space is flooded right now and he sees a lot of opportunity in the B2B space. So many new startups are focusing on the consumer, building another social network, or another airbnb for x that many have lost sight of taking these kind of features and new capabilities and bringing them to the business world. This is something I wrote about in my last post regarding the finance industry.
You can read more here on Chris’s specific advice on a follow up post he wrote today.