Last week’s workshop focused on How to Raise VC Funding.
We had the pleasure to welcome:
- Nicolas El Baze Partner @Partech Venture
- Carlos Diaz CEO @Kwarter
- Glenn McRae CSO @Early Growth Financial Services
Prior to the start of the workshop, the ubi i/o participants and panelists chatted over coffee. Once we got started, the workshop covered:
- Startup valuation
- Founder stock
- Board of advisors
- Choosing your VC
- Liquidation preferences
Our guests first emphasised that a startup should never consider valuation without also considering the stock option pool or future liquidation. Entrepreneurs also need to ensure that they reserve a meaningful piece of the equity for employees.
Here are some quotes from the panel:
“In the Valley, there is an expectation that you’re going to hire people & give them stock options” from @NicolasElBaze
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 11, 2014
Then, they focused on the role of the CEO. It was interesting to see the differences between France and the United States. Carlos Diaz, CEO of Kwarter, summarized the job of the CEO in the USA in five points:
- Get the vision and communicate on where the company is going
- Recruit people
- Push the team on a daily basis
- Communicate outside
- Find money, try to get the best deals, the best terms, “provide the fuel’
He underlined that a CEO does not have the time to do everything in a company. In order to get everything accomplished, a startup needs to hire the best people, and the best way to attract them is to give them equity in the company. The discussion continued with the panelists sharing their experiences looking for funding both as investors and entrepreneurs. Taking the investor’s point of view, the panelists explained that when investing in early stage companies, investors need the entrepreneur to be commited. They added: “As an investor, I don ‘t want to take your shares away. I just want to align our interests.” They also shared some tips for choosing the right VC: “You need to make your own due diligence, you need to be sure that your culture fits theirs culture.”
However, in order to be able to pick a VC, you must first convince them: “When you go to a meeting with a VC don’t let him talk, pitch!” said Nicolas El Baze. Glenn McRae shared advice regarding the elevator pitch, the executive summary, and the pitch deck. Glenn stressed that in a funding pitch one must always tell a story and share financial data (business model, revenue projections, funding requirements, use of funds / milestones) all the while also explaining the vision, problem/solution, market opportunity, market strategy, technology, competition, and the people who are in with you. The experts’ last tips focused on choosing the board advisors: “Pick the right people, the ones you can freely communicate with.” Later in the week, on Wednesday evening, France was well represented at SFNewtech where Antidot, Contract Live and SquidSolutions showcased their live demos to an audience of tech addicts.
Thursday evening, Contract Live participated in Pichforce. Mathieu Lhoumeau, CEO of Contract Live, demoed the solution during a networking session with investors and guests. Later, attendees voted for the top four companies to pitch to the panel of VCs. The pitch style was a 4-minute PowerPoint presentation followed by 4 minutes of Q&A and 4 minutes of feedback from the panel. The panel voted on a scale of 1-5, and for the second time this month ContractLive won first place at Pitchforce!