Discussing Startup Funding
After a successful meetup on passive income streams, Enter Network organized an evening in May 2019 to discuss Startup Funding.
Many entrepreneurs see outside funding as the holy grail. If you’ve raised at least 100k for your business, you’ve made it. You are successful. You’re on a path to become the next Uber.
But if there was one thing that we should take away from this evening, it’s that acquiring outside capital is not necessarily a good thing. It means giving up a part of your business; giving up a part of the control over your business and business decisions. Certainly, some startups may well benefit from startup funding. You may need the outside funds to grow faster than you otherwise could. Or perhaps it means that you can now give up your regular job, allowing you to focus fully on your startup. There are many reasons to attract outside funding, but there are also many reasons not to. Simply put, it’s a trade-off.
To further discuss this, Enter Network invited two speakers.
Inviting the Experts: Luuk Koedam and Marc Wesselink
At our Startup Funding Meetup, we invited Luuk Koedam from Amsterdam City Challenge and Marc Wesselink from VentureRock. Both speakers provided an excellent point of view on startup funding; Luuk recently completed their first funding round, while Marc is a serial entrepreneur and knows a lot about startup funding.
In this way, we could get two highly interesting viewpoints — one from an entrepreneur, and the other more from the investor’s side (though Marc is also an entrepreneur!).
Luuk Koedam: First-hand Experience Pre-Seed Funding Round
City Challenge Amsterdam is an exciting virtual reality game for tourists and anyone who wants to discover Amsterdam on foot. Take a look at the trailer below.
Since the start of this year, the company was looking to raise an additional funding round. In order to fully scale the business, they needed to develop a game builder and start launching games in other cities.
Luuk and colleagues calculated that a successful funding round would raise up to €200,000 – in order to make this game builder a reality. To do this, they needed excellent sales and forecasts models, and a solid pitch deck.
They quickly started talking to a variety of (angel) investors in the Netherlands. While the company got a lot of attention, many discussions with potential investors did not go anywhere. Investors seemed interested at first, but had one reason or another to say no after sometime.
The company’s founders quickly found out that raising capital is not an easy thing to do; and takes a long time. So instead of raising the intended €200k in one round, they decided to split the round. The idea was as follows:
First, they would raise €90k in a pre-seed round from two interested investors. The remaining €110k would then be raised in a second round, later in 2019. In this way, they could still leverage their good relations with the investors in question and move forward, without having to wait for a full round to close.
Luuk did not just speak about the two funding rounds, but also gave the audience a wealth of advice if you’re a startup looking to raise funds. He suggest entrepreneurs that are raising funds to continuously improve their pitch documents, and to use the investors of a first round to attract new investors in a second round.
And perhaps most importantly:
Don’t just look at the money, but also the knowledge that investors bring in.
Funding Your Startup: Slides from Luuk’s presentation with Relevant Tips and Tricks
If you’re interested in learning more about Luuk’s lessons learnt, please take a look at his slide deck:
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Marc Wesselink: Overview of the Startup Funding Landscape
Marc showed the audience the different stages of startup funding; going from an idea as a startup to early growth and finally market expansion.
Specifically, he discussed the need and non-need of startup funding. Money does not necessarily mean that you will ‘win’ the game. Take privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo for instance. It received $3 million in outside funding and is doing much better than its competitor Blekko, which received $60 million of VC money.
This example shows that money is not everything. And indeed, as Marc said, if you want to build a successful company, the timing of the product, the team and your business model are all much more important than the amount of funding you’ve generated.
But if you should choose to go the funding route, then make sure what you’re getting yourself into. Do your homework, think about the investment criteria of a potential investor, and ask for advice (rather than for money). Or as Marc put it:
Ask for MONEY, get ADVICE — but Ask for ADVICE, get Money!
An Overview of Startup Funding: Slides from Marc’s presentation
We can go on and on about the wealth of tips and tricks that Marc shared in his presentation. But it would be easier for you to take a look at his presentation directly:
A Great Meetup on Startup Funding
All in all, this meetup on Startup Funding was one of the best one’s we’ve had at Enter Network so far. The presentations were superb and the crowd was incredibly engaged.
What’s more, any entrepreneur present felt that they really got valuable advice that they could apply to their own business. Some decided they didn’t have to look for external funding after all; while others now knew how to approach angel investors and Venture Capital funds.
Sponsors of the Startup Funding Meetup
This meetup’s location sponsor: UCo
This meetup was sponsored by UCo or ‘Utrecht Community’. UCo is an amazing coworking space in Utrecht focused on sustainability. The large warehouse used to be a repair station of the Dutch railways, and currently hosts a variety of project managers, architects and other businesses that work in the ‘sustainable sector’. UCo is based near the Amsterdamsestraatweg at the 2e Daalsedijk.
We try to host our meetup in different places in and around the city of Utrecht; so if you have a great location available and would like to sponsor our next meetup; Let us know!
This meetup’s general sponsor: Infloat
Infloat is a blockchain expert consultancy, providing education and project management services for businesses who would like to know more about this cutting-edge technology. By sending out a weekly newsletter on blockchain and finance, they cover everything that is happening in the blockchain space, while still making the time for Enter Network.
Enter Network’s Utrecht Entrepreneurship is organized every month. The next meetup is on June 11 and the topic is Becoming a Digital Nomad — Live Free and Travel the World.
Join the meetup! Sign up for this meetup via our meetup page. Walk-in 19.00, we start 19.30 sharp! Location: Seats2Meet Utrecht Central Station. Free entry.