Print
More News

Panel Shares Tips For Securing Early-stage Investment

By Jenny Callison, posted Jun 20, 2014
What is the worst thing an entrepreneur can do when approaching a venture capitalist for funding? What share of a young venture is it fair for an investor to request?
 
These were among the questions asked of a panel of investors at Thursday’s Early Angels, Angel Groups and Venture Capitalists program held at University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

John Cambier of Durham-based Idea Fund Partners; Mike Rhoades of Wilmington Investor Network; and Chris Jones of Cape Fear IMAF talked about their organizations’ policies, priorities and preferences in evaluating investment opportunities, in a discussion moderated by Tracy Harris of GCM Grosvenor, an institutional investment firm.
 
The panelists provided some pointers for early-stage companies seeking funding, emphasizing adequate preparation before making a pitch but also encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs to get their proposals in front of investor groups.
 
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Rhoades said.
 
“If you’re looking for money, ask for advice; if you’re looking for advice, ask for money,” Cambier said.
 
To that point, Rhoades added that sometimes finding a strategic partner can be a good alternative, or complement, to securing an investor.
 
The panelists stressed the importance of networking, of developing a focused, compelling “elevator speech” of about 30 seconds and of trying to line up investments from a variety of sources. Having a promise of some investment can make a company’s case stronger as it goes to another investor.
 
Often, investor groups will partner with each other in making an investment in a company.
 
When it accepts investments, a startup must consult with those investors as it pursues its goals, Rhoades said, adding, “Keep in mind, we are now part of your decisions. Don’t underestimate what that means as you go forward.”
 
Crowdfunding success at an early stage can be an effective proof of concept as a company approaches venture capitalists for funding, Cambier said, and the other panelists agreed.
 
“Crowdfunding has become something [the potential investor] can look to as validation,” Jones said.
 
And that “worst thing”?
 
The panelists agreed that there was not one specific thing that could spell doom for a young company’s funding request, but that an entrepreneur’s unwillingness or inability to invest his or her own capital in the venture was certainly a red flag.
 
“If the entrepreneur is not willing to put his life on the line for [the business], we’re not interested,” Cambier said.
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Dave hoff heashot 300x300

Are You Showing Up Every Day as Your Best Self?

Dave Hoff - EASI Consult
Mike stonestreet 300x300

Renovate the Outdoors with Landscaping Refurbishment

Mike Stonestreet - CAMS (Community Association Management Services)
Headshot 131850046

Is it a Seller’s Market?

Kirk Pugh - KBT Realty

Trending News

Construction Of CenterPoint Might Not Start Until 2020

Cece Nunn - May 17, 2018

RiverLights Update: Amenities Open; More Homes, Retail, Apartments Coming

Cece Nunn - May 18, 2018

Block By Block

Cece Nunn and Christina Haley O'Neal - May 18, 2018

Real Estate Firm To Rebuild Offices In Oak Island, Hampstead; Adds 8 Realtors In Carolina Beach

Cece Nunn - May 18, 2018

Business Leaders Predict Potential Local Impacts Of Apple Campus In NC

Christina Haley O'Neal - May 18, 2018

In The Current Issue

Urgent Dental Care Clinic Plans To Expand

ASAP Urgent Dental Care, which launched in Wilmington earlier this year, plans to add locations elsewhere in the state....


Aquesta Bank Earnings Sharply On The Rise

“Our asset quality is good. What we have is a lot of growth,” said Jim Engel, Aquesta’s CEO and president, noting that the bank has seen “tr...


A Ruff Day At The Office: Dogs On The Job

“Having the dog in the office reduces a little bit of stress and brings people together,” said Jennifer Manocchio, president of Sweeney, a p...

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2018 Power Breakfast: The Main Event
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties
2017 Health Care Heroes