23 01, 2019

Preparing your pitch: Identify potential chinks in your armour and stay on course

By |2019-07-12T12:00:43+00:00January 23rd, 2019|Preparing your pitch, Valuing early stage companies|

Giving your idea the best chance of success with investors

I recently came across two posts that made me stop and think about ways to identify potential chinks in your armour and stay on course when it comes to preparing a pitch for investors.


One of the blogs was, “The real reasons why a VC passed on your startup”, written by Sarah A. Downey at #Accomplice and reposted on OrthoStreams by Tiger Buford. This is a highly informative article from anexperienced VC who knows what she is talking about. All of the reasons Sarah describes are also applicable to the reasons why an Angel, Super Angel, Family Office as well as a VC will passon an investment.


The list Sarah has createdis a great list to use in a workshop with your startup team, to identify potential chinks in your armour. Once identified, thefaults can be discussed and resolved. Even weak pointsin the team makeup, using the eye of an investor, can be discussed and resolved. Depending on the strength and depth of the team, any issuecan be overcome. The trick in the first instance is identifying the chinkin the armour and agreeing that it needs to be discussed and resolved.


The other piecewas a post by Julissa Shrewsbury bringing to our attention a revealing new TED Talk by Dana Kanze discussing the bias of promotion v prevention questions asked by investors, and how this negatively affects rates of investment for female entrepreneurs. A revealing talk, and Dana is an experienced entrepreneur who has pitched to a lot of VCs. It highlights that you need to be aware of promotion-focusedquestions and prevention-focusedquestions during question time.

The classification of investor questions Dana has described is also a great technique to use in a workshop with your startup team, to create positive promotion responses to promotion-or prevention-focused questions and stay on course. As a team you can develop a list of promotion or prevention focus questions and a corresponding list of positive promotion responses to all of the questions. This can prove invaluable when you want to make sure the Q&A session at the end of your pitch stays on the track, maintains momentum and finishes on a positive note.

12 05, 2018

Valuing Early Stage Companies

By |2019-07-12T12:12:23+00:00May 12th, 2018|Valuing early stage companies|

I am currently helping a team calculate the pre-money valuation of their company before they go out and raise additional equity funds. This is not an easy exercise to do on your own company. However, it made me go back to one of my favourite references, an article called, “Valuation For Startups  – 9 Methods Explained”, co-written and published in French by Augustin de Cambourg and in Portuguese by Raphael Mielle. Link below in English.


The article does a great job of explaining all of the methods that can be used. They can be used to estimate the value now and to estimate the value once a key milestone or inflection point is reached. In fact, you can map out the whole journey you plan to take and value the company at each key milestone or inflection point.


At the end of the article, Augustine and Raphael pinpoint what they see as the best valuation method: “Having said that, I find that the best valuation method is the one described by Pierre Entremont, early-stage investor at Otium Capital, in this excellent article. According to him, you should start from defining your needs and then negotiate dilution: The optimal amount raised is the maximal amount which, in a given period, allows the last dollar raised to be more useful to the company than it is harmful to the entrepreneur.”


Here is the article on valuation…