Tips for Entrepreneurs
We encourage entrepreneurs to think through aspects of their business in the same way potential investors would be assessing it.
Assemble the Right Team
The collective talent of the founding team is as important to the business as the core idea itself. Consider:
Composition and Size
Projects that depend entirely on the talent of just one founder risk failing too easily. Although one-person initiatives may apply for funding, a small team with complementary business and technical abilities has a better chance of success.
Level of Interest and Commitment
Drafting a thoughtful business plan demonstrates a longer-term perspective, and helps teams orient collaboratively toward the same goals. Since business trends may change significantly in the time it takes to bring a product to market, we find it imperative to identify entrepreneurs with the ability to adapt to change, as well as strong leadership qualities, foresight, integrity and enthusiasm.
Technical Capabilities to Execute the Idea
Planning for large-scale products while executing in small increments is important in our selection process. Early-stage demos or working prototypes help demonstrate the technical expertise of the team, and allow us to gauge the potential for success in executing on more mature aspects of the idea. Remember that showing is better than telling — a mock-up or video is good, but live demo is better.
Explain How Your Solution is a Business, Not Just a Feature
Provide clear and defendable presentation of the opportunity (problem and market), a plan for addressing it (solution), and a talented team positioned to do so. Highlight the elements in your approach that provide for leverage and scale as the business grows and, if applicable, position your company as a perfect fit with other investments we already made — but not directly competitive.
Look to Generate Revenue Quickly and to Cut Expenses
Reduce your estimated "burn rate" through allocated funds by prioritizing activities and milestones that focus on the revenue-generating part of your business, while tightly controlling project expenses. Evaluate overhead costs associated with office space — consider sharing workspaces with another startup, allowing employees to telecommute, and delay signing options or other costly extensions on existing leases.
Do you have a contact within our investments team that already knows you? Request a referral directly into the Ventures team by contacting someone from The Paliwoda Group or its affiliated companies who has already worked with you. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to learn about networking events we attend, and updates that may impact your business.