one of the most exciting things I’ve seen lately.
How to Play the VC Game
Sitar Teli is awesome and this idea of hers has always been a favorite of mine.
seems like on sillicon india there was a lot more written. I was in a live audience when she gave one of her speeches about this, and then I saw her slides, but still: here’s some good ‘ol text.
The following is written after Sitar’s Presentation:
9 Important Gaming Lessons to Raise Venture Capital
Bangalore: Gamers of today need to focus on distinct games with different scenarios that need to be strategized accordingly very similar to the modern day business environment were organizations strategize to make effective decisions. There is a very close relationship between raising venture capital for any form of business to gaming which has been showcased by Sitar Teli who is a partner at Connect Ventures and one of the early investors in SoundCloud and avid gamer. She did a brilliant job by bringing into focus how gaming was connected to raising venture capital during the weekend’s Startup Camp Berlin.
She addressed a crowd and followed a keynote from German Technology Minister, Philip Rosler earlier that day and brought out a humorous and frank take on fundraising dubbed by the MC as a top talk of the day. Here are 9 tips that can be looked upon while looking forward to raise venture capital as reported by Nina Fowler of Venture Village.
1.Fundraising is Social
Teli goes on to say “In a social game, the larger a network you have the better you do in the game”. Fundraising too works out in the same manner- the bigger the network; the more are the chances of raising the venture capital for the firm. Teli continues “There’s a good reason for this. VCs see lots and lots of deals. Last year, we were a completely new VC fund. No-one knew we existed and we still saw about 800 deals”. The fact is that Teli’s references could be more reliable than a blind Email which shows the inefficiency or the lack of effort on the side of the entrepreneur.
2.Viral loops are highly effective
There is tremendous competition in the market and to stand out from the crowd an entrepreneur needs to create some sort of a buzz or a promotion that will capture the attention of the customers as well as the Venture Capitalists. A VC spots a mention in a tech blog or somebody gives the company a referral provides some sort of recognition or an attention gathering medium to the company. This is indeed a viral loop. This in a way works for startups where entrepreneurs use their own networks to create Buzz in the market.
- Check your heads-up display
While launching a product an entrepreneur should have all of his facts and figures crystal clear to avoid any sort of distortions during the latter stages of the product launch. It could include the number of active users, the company’s growth on a daily basis and steps to be taken to convert people to active users. If an entrepreneur does not have an ample data or idea of the business they should be talking to a specific type of VC, probably a seed VC, or someone who is more into prelaunch rather than already existing companies with traction.
- Know your gamer
“My background is in consumer and social – I now also work with some SME B2B companies and freemium models,” Teli explained. “If you’re an infrastructure company, I could sit down for three hours and I wouldn’t know anything about your company at the end of it – I’d know what you told me, but I wouldn’t understand it.”
Under such circumstances one would be unlikely to invest money into the business and even if one does, it would not prove beneficial to the company when compared to an already existing partner who is an established expert in this field. It is not certain that an entrepreneur always deals with the right venture capitalists or may be a VC can refer someone to partner with; therefore it is very important to always set the right type of meeting with the right set of people from the very beginning.
- Practice builds skills
An entrepreneur should have immense amount of practice and subject knowledge about the company so that he may not be caught in a situation where people could probably get a chance to question the credibility of the organization. In doing so sufficient amount of practice and prior trials are required in dealing with various situations. An entrepreneur needs to practice various time lengths and various pitch angles: product angle, business angle, marketing strategy – all the core functions and areas where one needs to succeed.
- Get ready for the boss level
This is the stage that decides the future of the organization because it has a very high death rate. The original founders come up with the idea of starting the venture which has to be approved by the other partners as well. An entrepreneur should always keep in mind that though it is a tough phase the partners or at least one must genuinely be interested in this business proposition due to which they are present at the venue. The first thing that the founder needs to concentrate on is to talk to the person who is showing interest in the business proposition well in advance to get a view of who’ll be in the team gathering, especially the key decision-makers. This in a way will help an entrepreneur to get an overview of the tough questions that they are going to bombard on him when the meeting commences. Crosscheck every detail prior to the commencement of the meeting and it would prove handy to talk to individuals or organizations that have been previously funded.
- Don’t play the game – play the player
The entrepreneur should focus on not playing the game but rather on playing with the players which means anyone in the world can talk to millions of VCs but the point is that it is difficult to get one “yes” from them. The point is that the “no’s” keep adding to the tally and finally comes to a stage where no VC is ready to invest in the business. Therefore it is very crucial to target the right set of VCs so that the chances of getting a yes is much higher and one should also target businesses who have done prior dealings with the organisation but are on the league to partner in a dream project.
- Know the cheat codes
Preparing yourself for the unexpected and doing every possible bit to bring out the expected should be the point of focus for the entrepreneur. In-depth understanding and detailed analysis should be undergone to come out of any situation. In a way one should do as much as they can to educate and prepare themselves. Fantastic resources and a reliable team to back on, acts as the two major power blocks in pushing the idea forward to its ultimate destination.
- Failure is normal
Failure is part of any business especially a startup where things are highly uncertain. It is not easy for every business to raise venture capital thus when there are situations they fail, and they need to accept it with open arms rather than just running or shying away from it. The worst thing that a startup could probably do is to not try again. The saying goes “Where there is a will there is a way” so is the case with startups. Failures are always considered as the stepping stones to success as the history has revealed this fact to us over and over again.