Trade winds have been used by captains of sailing ships to cross the world's oceans for centuries. They have enabled expansion into the Americas and beyond, allowing trade routes to become established across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Knowledge of the wind and currents that prevail in the ocean play a critical role in enabling sailors to chart their course effectively. If you aspire to be a seasoned sailor, you should learn how to interpret weather patterns to help you navigate the high seas.
Global capital trade winds have slowed down, and many of our scaleup and start-up clients have approached us for guidance to successfully navigate their route to access capital. We have noticed the following in our latest engagements:
Venture capitalists (VC's) have become significantly more selective with their investments, making it tougher for startups to successfully raise.
Investors now focus more on financials and take longer to make decisions.
VC's are issuing more capital to their existing portfolio companies, instead of deploying new capital. This is in order to protect their existing portfolio.
The first meeting is crucial to secure an investors attention. Similar to first impressions on a date, it’s very difficult to secure a follow up if you don’t excite your potential partner.
VC deal count is down by nearly 33% globally at midyear 2023, compared to midyear 2022 (PitchBook data) and valuations are under pressure. However, there is still hope. Due to VC’s being more picky with their investments, they are sitting on a substantial amount of available funds to deploy.
To succeed in a downturn, founders must master the art of their pitch and consider the following guidance:
Focus on financial fundamentals and profitability rather than just growth metrics.
Demonstrate a clear path to profitability, precisely showing how resources will be allocated.
Set realistic expectations regarding the amount being raised, as well as your target valuation.
Be flexible to less-favourable terms sheets.
Knowing your business inside-out is essential, especially when facing increased competition for limited capital. Articulate the unique opportunity/ differentiators your product or service addresses in the current market and highlight both (i) long-term vision and (ii) short-term milestones to instil confidence in investors.
Place a large emphasis on the Founders' previous experiences, successes and exits (if applicable), particularly in early-stage start-ups where traction numbers may be scarce. Show how your expertise and experiences make you the best person to build and grow the product.
To stand out from the rest of the pack, tailor your pitch to suit each investor's specific priorities, as well as showcase how you could collaborate with their existing portfolio companies. Leverage personal networks for warm introductions to VC's and build relationships before formal fundraising meetings.
Entrepreneurs must seize the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition. Embrace the challenges as a chance to showcase your creativity, resilience, and dedication to building a successful venture. By focusing on financials, demonstrating a defensible offering, and emphasizing founder expertise, you can instill confidence in potential investors and secure the capital needed to make your growth and vision a reality.