Wilmingtonbiz logo
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.

Join The Discussion

Similar Stories

In The Current Issue

Skating Towards Sustainability, Sales

When Sean Meyers needed a quick and easy way to get to class, he created an electric skateboard to take him from point A to point B. Now as he glides down the hallway of the Electric Revolution (EREV) headquarters on his original prototype, Meyers’ brainchild has become much more than an excuse to hit the snooze button one more time.

Ambulatory Surgery Center Gets OK

Wilmington Health recently received approval from the N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation to expand its ambulatory surgery center....

Apartments Pile On Amenities In New Developments

Wilmington apartment dwellers are finding that today’s apartment complexes are becoming far more than just a place to hang their hats or lay...

Ico topnews Editor's Picks

Davis To Propose Amended Film Provision In N.C. House Today

Jenny Callison - About 5 hours ago

Amendment Seeks To Maintain Historic Preservation Credits

Cece Nunn - About 5 hours ago

Local Cornerstone Office Switches Affiliations

Jenny Callison - About 8 hours ago

With Rock Property, School District Ready To Roll

Cece Nunn - Jul 30, 2014
Wealth Management

Pathfinder Wealth Consulting

Business owners helping business owners plan, achieve and protect their family wealth. We offer unbiased comprehensive financial planning, risk management unique to family owned businesses, retirement ...more

Ico trending Trending News

Ico newsinimages News in Pictures

Have a tip, pitch or guest column?  Send us a tip.

Gallery Galleries

Video Videos

Power Breakfast Series - Special Sauce for Economic Development - March. 2014
WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote - Ken Lowe - Founder HGTV, CEO Scripps Networks - March. 2014

Register to Continue Seeing Wilmington's Best Business Coverage!


There are three ways to register for free.

Sign in with LinkedIn, Facebook or create an account:



Already registered? Login here.

Your free registration includes:

  • Access to 10 articles per month on WilmingtonBiz.com
  • Email updates to stay informed on local business news
  • A mobile optimized website
  • Advanced notification of Business Journal events
  • Management of your digital and print subscriptions
Laptop iphone ipad