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Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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4 Types Of Startup Stories To Win Investors

4 Types Of Startup Stories To Win Investors | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Investment decisions are supposed to be based on rational analysis. But don't discount the power of a compelling narrative to engage a funder emotionally.

Like many technology entrepreneurs, I'm more comfortable with logic than storytelling. But entrepreneurs need to be able to tell an engaging story to attract capital and advice from investors.

The gap between many entrepreneurs' weak storytelling skills and the high demand for that ability is so often seen that one venture-capital firm, Greylock Partners, hired Elisa Schreiber, a marketing partner to help the firm's entrepreneurs to tell their stories more effectively.

As she wrote in Fortune, "I work closely with entrepreneurs to help them shape their company’s communications strategies. No matter the sector, I have found that the organizations who effectively tell their stories are the ones who can recruit the top talent, acquire long-term customers, and build brands that endure." Read more: click image or title.

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Via Karen Dietz, THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Packaging your #funding request is not just about numbers. You're dealing with humans who have emotions. Tell a great #story.

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Karen Dietz's curator insight, April 19, 12:48 PM

Just yesterday I finished putting together a storytelling program for startups to create their pitch deck. Lots of specific stories are needed in order to create a winning pitch to venture capitalists.

 

Then today this post pops up on my screen. Talk about serendipity! What I like about the article are the 4 story types that a startup can take. Each startup story is unique, yet typically falls into one of these 4 story types.

 

What I don't like about the article is that the original title is "4 Keys To Crafting A Winning Startup Story". It sounds like you are going to get tips for crafting your startup story. The article isn't about that, but it does lay out the 4 types very well.

 

If your are struggling with your startup story, this post will definitely help you. Which story type fits you best?

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The 6 Key Components of Writing a Business Plan

The 6 Key Components of Writing a Business Plan | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Having prepared a good business plan before starting your venture can often be the difference between startup success and failure.  I am not saying you need a 50 page detailed report, as investors don't typically have the time to read them anymore.

 But, it is more about taking the time to think through the below 6 key components of a preparing a business plan, to make sure you know what you are up against in your industry and have reasonable foresight into where the business is heading in terms of go-to-market strategies and financial returns for the company and its investors. Click on title or image to read the full article.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels



Via TechinBiz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A business plan is your focus and compass when setting up a successful business. Investors or banks will require it, but even your team and yourself will benefit from having one.

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Chris Myers: Not Every Startup Needs $5 Million - The Accelerators - WSJ

Despite all the talk about excess capital in the tech investment sector, many young but growing companies find themselves in a no-man’s land. I spoke to dozens of investment firms during our last capital raise and the story was almost always the same — they’ve been following our business and love what we’re doing, but their “minimum check size” is about $5 million. These firms can’t (or won’t) invest any amount below their minimum. When I explain that we’re not seeking that much capital at the moment, the conversation defaults back to the standard “let’s keep in touch” response. The truth is that more and more venture-capital firms are acting like private-equity businesses, seeking to back established concepts that already have significant revenue. This is a totally understandable strategy, but it isn’t all that helpful for businesses at our stage of growth.

The logical next step is to seek out angel investors, but this is also often easier said than done. Many angels are hesitant to invest in companies that are past the seed stage, but at the same time haven’t seen the explosive growth that would merit interest from the venture-capital/private-equity firms described above. This is often due to the fact that companies with a product seeking a second round will often raise at a higher valuation than many angels are comfortable with.

So what is a company in this position supposed to do? We found ourselves in a very similar situation here at BodeTree, when we set out to raise our second investment round. Fortunately, we developed a strategy that helped us successfully raise the capital we were seeking and laid the foundation for the success we’re seeing today. Here are the three key elements that helped us along the way:

Broaden your geographic search. While Silicon Valley and New York City are hubs of investment activity, there are plenty of investors and opportunities in other geographic regions. While you might not get the same level of validation or support that comes with an investment from a firm like Accel partners, you stand a better chance of securing the incremental capital you’re looking for. Additionally, there are plenty of firms that don’t traditionally specialize in technology, but are looking to diversify their portfolios. We found our lead investors in Denver, and they’ve proven to be an invaluable part of our team.

Reach out to potential partners. If your company is looking to partner with large established players, consider approaching those organizations for investments. Many times you’ll find that a compelling case for partnership is also a compelling argument for investing. Additionally, having partners who are also investors can help ensure commitment to the long-term success of the venture and help you “punch above your weight.” We’ve found that engaging with partners in this capacity can lead to much deeper relationships.

Ask for more introductions, even when you’re turned down. This strategy seems simple, but you’d be amazed how effective it can be. Many times when an individual or firm chooses to pass on investing in a round, it isn’t because they don’t like your business. Many times the opportunity simply doesn’t fit their investment criteria, such as looking for less than $5 million. If you do a reasonable job of telling your story and manage to connect with potential investors on a personal level, more often than not they’ll be willing to introduce you to other individuals or firms that are a better fit.

There’s never going to be a magic formula for raising capital. Everyone’s story is different and has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, if your company finds itself in the middling position of having a completed product and being on the cusp of significant traction, don’t give up hope. While it can be difficult for companies that don’t fit into the clearly-defined growth stages venture-capital firms and angels are comfortable with, there are plenty of opportunities in the market. At the end of the day, you can rest assured that good companies and ideas will get funded. It’s just a matter of making sure you get in front of the right investors and seek out the best opportunities. These strategies worked for us, and I’m confident that they’ll work for countless other businesses in similar positions.

Mr. Myers is co-founder and CEO of BodeTree, a Web application for small businesses.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km




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Good news! 1337 Ventures has a pre-accelerator programme for startups

Good news! 1337 Ventures has a pre-accelerator programme for startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Prominent startup accelerators have strict entry criteria; Alpha Startups pre-accelerator programme aims to fill a gap in the ecosystem.Prominent startup accelerators have strict entry criteria; Alpha Startups pre-accelerator programme aims to fill a gap in the ecosystem.

Accelerators such as JFDI or HaxAsia in Singapore, SparkLabs in Korea and Movida in Japan have had much success in growing startups into fruits that are viable for harvest by early-stage investors. However, the selection pool for each accelerator is large, and not all startups are able to benefit from the intensive training. In fact, JFDI has an acceptance rate of less than 3.6 per cent, as reported by e27 in a previous article.

Now there is good news for pre-seed startups! Malaysia-based 1337 Ventures, the company behind 1337 Accelerator, has announced the launch of its Alpha Startups pre-­accelerator programme together with MDeC.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Pre-accelerator programs are an excellent idea. With so few startups  being chosen for funding it is a great initiative to create more quality and offer some first hand experience to entrepreneurs.

Good market for consultants and mentors.

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Courting bank funding

Courting bank funding | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
How do you make your business simply irresistible to a bank manager?
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article to learn what banks want to hear from their clients.

Of course, the business plan is central again. Start with a good business plan template.

Free Business Plan Template:    https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/freebptemplate/gt4045/

If you have a little more time, check this presentation from Dave Lavinsky, president of Growthink, the company that offers many tools for startups, this one is specifically aimed at succeeding in obtaining a loan from the bank: https://growthink.infusionsoft.com/go/loanguide/gt4045/

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Growthink Business Plan Template Review

Growthink Business Plan Template Review | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Review of Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template by professional business plan reviewers
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Get it done in 8 hours or less, while communicating the essentials that investors are looking for and that will make them respond.

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10 Answers That Will Make Your Startup Plan Worthy of Investment

10 Answers That Will Make Your Startup Plan Worthy of Investment | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Having all the answers when you pitch investors will lead them to ask only one question: ""How soon can I sign up?"

Entrepreneurs who are looking to attract investors need to develop and pitch a plan -- preferably written -- that answers every potential investor question about your startup before it is asked. You may be quick on your feet with answers, but if investors have to ask any of these questions, you raise the specter of hiding something, or of not being astute enough to know what’s important.

Either of these qualms can ultimately sidetrack your startup as not worthy of investment, so it pays to do your homework on what you say and how to communicate effectively. As a startup advisor and investor, I recommend a pitch deck with about 10 slides backed up with a written business plan of approximately 20 pages, both containing quantified answers to the following key questions. Read more: click image or title.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Brief overview of how to prepare your #investor #pitch.



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The 5 C's to Creating a Winning Investment Pitch

The 5 C's to Creating a Winning Investment Pitch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
You need to show why an investor should back you, and there are a number of traits that successful investees should show during the course of their pitch.

When it comes to a winning investment pitch, the entrepreneur is the most important person in the room. I am a passionate believer that people make businesses a success, so when looking for investment, keep in mind that you are being evaluated just as much as the 100 page business plan you may have produced.

From start to finish you need to show why an investor should back you, and in my experience there are a number of traits that successful investees should show during the course of their pitch.

1. Confidence

Your first few minutes can set the tone for the rest of the pitch so make the right impression. The small details such as your outfit, your handshake and the amount of eye contact you make are actually hugely important. Remember if you don’t seem like you believe in your business proposition, investors certainly won’t. Never appear apologetic for being there; you need to convey total belief and passion.

2. Commitment

I don’t believe you can be a part-time entrepreneur and you’re highly unlikely to receive funding if you say you’re only putting three days a week into this. It has to be all or nothing – a business is like your child and you need to be completely dedicated. What I will always ask entrepreneurs is how much time - and if they’re a start-up, money - they’re putting into the idea. The more commitment you show, the more likely you are to get what you are looking for.

3. Creativity

Although investment pitches are a serious business, I do like to see an element of creativity. You could be pitching to somebody who has seen several pitches that day alone – earlier this year when I was considering applications for Recruitment Entrepreneur I saw 15 in a week. With that in mind you want to stand out from the pack. Something to consider is giving them a copy of your presentation on a USB stick that has your logo printed on it. Not only does this mean they can look at your slides in further detail, but it ensures you will probably be the business they remember most.

4. Clarity

Speaking of your presentation, what you don’t want is several slides filled with graphs, pie charts and jargon. Crucially, never allow yourself to be boxed in by what is on the slides. People buy from people so you need to be engaging, direct and to the point. If within 10 minutes I still don’t have a clue what your business is about, I will then start to wonder whether your customers will. Keep things simple; you can go into the small print further down the line.

5. Credibility

This is possibly the most important point and there are a number of things you need to do to demonstrate your credibility.

Your actual business idea is what you will be judged on, but before you’ve even got into the nuts and bolts of it, you need to demonstrate how well you know the investor in front of you. These days there is no excuse for not having key information about the people you are pitching to, and if you can demonstrate this near the beginning of the pitch you get a firm tick in the box. I’m not saying you should know the entire balance sheet of the investor’s company, but why not talk to them about a recent deal they may have completed? This shows you prepared thoroughly and weren’t just wrapped up in yourself.

What also gives you credibility is having a team with you – ideally in person but at the very least on paper. This tells me that other people buy into your vision and your business. You cannot underestimate how much of a boost this provides to your chances of getting an investment – you’ve now gone from being a lone ranger to a backable team.

Finally, you will always be grilled on your numbers so you must have a complete handle on these. A pet peeve of any investor is somebody who is trying to play things by ear when it comes to things like turnover projections. Ensure you are realistic as well; investment is based on facts, not fiction, so don’t make big predictions with no solid evidence to back it up.

LinkedIn Influencer, James Caan, published this post originally on LinkedIn.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

You can give information and data when pitching your venture to investors, but really, they are looking to figure out what your qualities are.

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3 Energy Companies Investing In Startups

3 Energy Companies Investing In Startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

As recently reported, NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) is acquiring Goal Zero, a company that makes portable solar battery chargers.

The deal is just the latest in a growing trend of energy companies acquiring innovative startups, in an effort to diversify and expand their markets. Here are some recent examples.


Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A)

Back in 2010, Shell acquired a stake in Virent Energy Systems -– a Wisconsin-based company that creates chemicals and fuels from “biomass-derived” sugars.

In 2012, using technology licensed from Virent, Royal Dutch Shell built a next-generation biofuels pilot plant at Shell's Westhollow Technology Center in Houston.


The pilot plant “allows us to explore further biofuels options as we continue to actively manage our advanced biofuels pathways to identify a feasible set of commercial solutions,” Luis Scoffone, Vice President, Alternative Energies at Shell, said at the time.

Virent also has partnerships with Cargill, Coca-Cola, the U.S. Navy, the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy.


SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY)

While Elon Musk is best known for the Tesla electric car and his SpaceX chimerical space venture, he's also chairman of Solar City, one of America's largest installers of rooftop solar power systems.

And this past June SolarCity announced its acquisition of Silevo, a solar panel technology and manufacturing company.

In a blog co-signed by Musk, SolarCity said the company was in discussions with New York officials regarding the construction of a manufacturing plant in the state, a facility that within the next two years “will be one of the largest solar panel production plants in the world.”

“If we don’t do this, we felt there was a risk of not being able to have the solar panels we need to expand the business in the long term,” Musk said during a June conference call.


Pacific Gas and Electric (NYSE: PCG)

Also known as PG&E, the company is one of the biggest combined natural gas/electric utilities in the country -- supplying natural gas and electricity to an estimated 15 million people in north and central California.

In 2009 PG&E signed a contract with BrightSource Energy, a designer, developer and distributor of solar thermal technology, to create seven solar power projects that would produce an overall total of 1,310 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal power.

But the relationship hasn't always been to plan. Last year, PG&E canceled a plan to purchase power from two BrightSource plants, citing “uncertainty around the timing of transmission upgrades,”



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What I’ve Learned in My First Month as a VC

What I’ve Learned in My First Month as a VC | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

After 13 years at startups—the last four at Twitter—I’ve made the transition into venture capital as a partner at Redpoint Ventures. It has been just over a month since I began spending my days on Sand Hill Road and in that short time, I’ve learned quickly about working in a tight, seasoned partnership as well as having listened to some of the smartest, most interesting startup pitches.

Thus far, my transition from an operating role into an investing and advisory role has been a rapid, intense education. Some parts of the job are as I expected but others have been surprising. Before it all becomes a big blur, I thought I’d share some of the most interesting and unexpected lessons I’ve learned —so far:

To continue reading, click on the title of the article.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here:

http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



Looking for VC capital? Learn from the best, watch this presentation by the CEO of Growthink: 'VC Pitch Formula'



Via Guillaume Decugis, Marc Kneepkens
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Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, December 5, 2013 2:27 AM

A candid list of lessons learned from Ryan Sarver that gives interesting insights on how VCs will look at an investment opportunity. Useful to craft the perfect pitch. 

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, December 7, 2013 11:17 AM

Whether you are a Startup looking for funding, or an investor, looking for the right investment, there is a lot to learn from this article. It's and inside viewpoint that examines the process of funding the right idea and team.

Lori Wilk's curator insight, December 23, 2013 10:30 AM

It's great to learn from what others have tried and experienced so that you can be better prepared.

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What are the early symptoms that a startup is going to fail?

What are the early symptoms that a startup is going to fail? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Answer (1 of 29): I'm sure there are plenty more out there, but I look for these:

1. No demonstrated user need. For example, consider 3D movies and TV.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This is a question on Quora with some great answers, very informative for startups, much to learn here. Please discuss.


Do you still need to write that business plan? Start at least with a 'Free Business Plan Template': http://www.business-funding-insider.com/free-business-plan-template.html



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