Another intense week on both of ubi i/o’s campuses, founders’ calendars have been filled with pitching events, workshops, business meetings, mentorship sessions and more! Here’s everything you need to know about ubi i/o’s sixth week.
This week’s main event in San Francisco was Silicon Valley Open Doors (SVOD) which gathers 600+ startup founders, 50+ gurus of the tech industry, 300+ top angels & VCs alongside 800+ experts. Famoco, Qowisio and Sevenhugs were there to pitch their companies to attendees and expand their local networks.
A big round of applause to Famoco who stood out with their NFC reader and ended up in 2nd place of SVOD’s pitch competition!
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) May 27, 2016
On Wednesday, our entrepreneurs participated in VC Taskforce’s event, another opportunity for our founders to improve their pitch and gather feedback from American investors. Congratulations to Max Lerigner Co-founder & CTO of BulldozAIR who ended up in the top 3 best startups after delivering a sharp 2 minute pitch that left some of the panel members excited to know more!
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) May 26, 2016
On Friday, Xavier Menchez, member of the ubi i/o team, organized a workshop on the topic “Business Planning from a Financial point of view”. We invited over Olivier Poissonnier, CFO @ Algolia, and Eric Didier, co-founder @ OneKloud as our guest speakers.
“The CFO quickly becomes the CEO’s most trusted friend & advisor”
Because we are of course dealing with French founders, we first tackled the difference between a CFO and the Administrative & Financial Manager. On one hand, the CFO handles a very strategic role by reviewing contracts, creating financial reports & predictions and advising the CEO on strategic decisions regarding cash burning rate, the ability to hire on new employees etc. On the other hand, the AFM’s focus is often more business centric.
Additionally, we talked about the administrative differences between France and the U.S. From financial & fiscal standpoints, the American administration happens to be way simpler than the French one. If you’ve built your startup in France and you are ready to expand your business to the U.S., you should work with an American accountant instead of letting your French team dealing with American administrative tasks. You’ll gain time and money while avoiding financial pitfalls.
“Follow the rules of accountancy from the beginning”
Olivier Poissonnier advised our startups to follow the rules of accountancy from the very beginning, there’s nothing more daunting and time consuming than having to go through misleading or inaccurate books when going through growth and having to raise additional funds. Keeping your books & numbers in order from the start will save you lots of time. If need be, you can hire a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) which will allow you to focus on growing your business while the CPA keeps you on the right track from a financial and tax standpoints.
Fund raising is and always has been one of the main priorities and source of stress for an entrepreneur building his business. That’s why on Thursday, we organized a working lunch on “How to Raise Funds: Strategy, VC funding & Valuation”.
Like in San Francisco this past week, we invited over an investor to share some of her thoughts and insights about the money raising process in the U.S. Florence Tison invited Lucy Wang, investor at Greycroft and Colton Carothers, Managing Associate in at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.
For Lucy, an investor has to be fairly reactive and follow the industry trends to know where and when to invest. There’s no secret, all investors are number-focused and care about customer references. They often times make their due diligences with a startup’s references to verify if founders are being truthful.
A startup’s founding team is also very important. An investor looks for previous entrepreneurial experiences, especially if you are running a B2B startup, you need a lot of experience in order to develop & commercialize your business. In regards to the key personality traits of a CEO, he/she should have a clear vision for the startup & be a leader with great communication skills.
When should VC start talking to startups they are interested in?
Ideally, investors try to get to know the founders as soon as possible. It’s typical for them to engage in conversations with founders who just raised funds as they know they will soon need another round within the next 18 months. Relationships with investors are often time long term relationships, just like any other relationship you may build, it takes time and effort. It’s important for founders to know & understand that investor networks intertwine so you’re better off staying in good terms with anyone you may connect with. It takes years to build up a reputation and just a few minutes to ruin it.
When should the lawyer be involved?
Lawyers are very expensive, high profiles can cost around $670 per hour. Either way, you should definitely get involved with an attorney when negotiating a term sheet with a potential investor. In the U.S. it’s not uncommon for your attorney to introduce you to their network of VCs.
In regards to your board, the ideal scenario is when the founder has at least two votes. If you need to bring an independent party to the board, strive to pick someone knowledgable and relevant to your industry. It’s quite common in the U.S. and always a good idea to involve your lawyer by inviting him/her to your board meetings, they will often propose this service free of charge.
“Capital is getting deployed in a more reasonable way.”
Finally, we addressed the current state of investment. According to Lucy, current times aren’t that bad: “there is still a lot of money, investors may be more cautious but if you are doing something valuable they are going to invest”. When raising funds, entrepreneurs need to be fully aware that they have to develop their business knowing exactly how they are going to utilize their resources before spending it. Sustainability is the mantra.
“Startup Investor Night”
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) May 25, 2016
On Tuesday, all of our entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch among 18 other startups in front of a jury of investors. Demos & presentations lasted 6 minutes followed by 2 minutes of Q&A.
Round of applause for Tilkee & AB Tasty! Both startups finished amongst the best companies evaluated by the jury. It’s becoming a tradition for ubi i/o companies to win pitching competitions, and we like it that way.
More news to come in our next post! Stay tuned.
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