Harvard i-lab | Startup Secrets: Funding Strategies to Go the Distance | Summary and Q&A

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April 16, 2013
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Harvard Innovation Labs
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Harvard i-lab | Startup Secrets: Funding Strategies to Go the Distance

TL;DR

Learn how to secure funding for your startup and what to expect along the way, with insights from angel investors, seed funding experts, accelerators, and venture capitalists.

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Key Insights

  • 🗯️ The process of securing funding for startups can be complex, and it is crucial to align with the right investors who understand your industry and can provide expertise and resources.
  • 🤩 Building relationships with investors and conducting extensive research on their track records and expertise is key.
  • 👋 Startups should carefully consider the stage of funding they are seeking and assess whether they are a good fit for each type of funding source.
  • 🚱 Strategic partnerships, government support, and philanthropy can also provide funding opportunities for startups, particularly in the non-profit sector.

Transcript

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the benefit of joining an angel network like Common Angels?

Angel networks like Common Angels provide more than just capital. They offer mentorship, industry expertise, and valuable contacts. Additionally, they can provide guidance on structuring deals and offer support throughout the early stages of startup development.

Q: How should startups approach seed funding?

Startups should consider whether they need seed funding to validate their idea and achieve specific milestones before seeking Series A funding. It is important to find investors who are willing to provide follow-on funding and have a clear plan for how the seed funding will help the startup progress.

Q: What are the advantages of participating in an accelerator program like Techstars?

Accelerator programs provide a focused, mentor-driven environment where startups can receive intensive support, develop their business models, and validate their ideas. It offers networking opportunities and access to a community of entrepreneurs and mentors who can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Q: How should startups approach VC funding?

Startups should thoroughly research and understand the VC firm's expertise, track record, and alignment with their business. Building a relationship and trust with VCs is crucial. Startups should also evaluate whether the VC has capital reserves for follow-on investments and if their investment thesis aligns with the startup's goals.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The session covers various stages of funding, starting with angel funding from individual investors and networks like Common Angels. They provide mentorship and valuable expertise at the early stages of startup development.

  • Seed funding comes next, and some seed investors may also offer Series A funding if specific milestones are achieved. It is vital to have a clear plan and understand how far the seed funding will take your business.

  • Accelerator programs like Techstars provide an intensive, focused environment for startups to receive mentorship, develop their business models, and validate their ideas.

  • VC funding is a possibility for startups with high potential and capital-intensive business models. Startups must carefully consider the fit, expertise, and track record of VCs before seeking investment.

  • Other funding options include strategic partnerships, government support, and philanthropy, particularly for non-profit ventures.

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