Webinar Highlights: One-on-One with a Seed/Series A Investor

The first webinar of our 2020 Navigate Webinar Series was brought to you in partnership with NYSERDA, who works to advance energy innovation, technology, and investment in New York State, and Clean Capital, an industry-leading clean energy investment platform. Moderated by Jon Powers, CEO and Co-Founder of Clean Capital, this webinar highlighted the investor perspective, featuring panelists from Launch NY, Prime Impact Fund, and LineVision.

Couldn't make it to the webinar? Read on for a detailed recap and watch the recording! With a theme towards the details on raising a successful Seed/Series A round through the lens of an investor, our panelists went in deep on what they expect from the startups to answer the following questions:

When is the right time to start approaching investors?

Make sure to be ready - usually, the first impression is the last. The best way to make a great first impression is to show your company has greatness, something that stands apart from the mass. To demonstrate this, make sure you have a strong pitch deck and solid Business Model Canvas (BMC). In other words, have your story straight and reliable market analysis.

What criteria are investors looking for on startups?

A short answer: EXTRAORDINARY people. The first business the entrepreneur is pitching is not necessarily the one that will take off. It might be a business that the entrepreneur will build in the future. More than a business idea, the investor is looking at the founder.

According to Mathew Nordon from Prime Impact Fund, six out of eight people that went on to become a CEO left a graduate or Ph.D. program. The way he finds these extraordinary people is through achievement, or a sign that other people did not have. It varies, it might be winning on a sport to a great advisor on the board. 

Furthermore, the entrepreneur should be looking for venture capitalists that match with the business vision. Besides capital, the entrepreneur should be looking for the intangibles that a specific VC can provide as network, expertise, client introduction, and the ability to take the product/service to the market.

What does a successful pitch look like?

Investors see a lot of pitches that fall into the logical fallacy of converse. The startup's pitch might look like a duck, quacks like a duck, but it is a gazelle. A successful pitch is actually about teaching the nature of a problem to be solved, not necessarily the specific of the plans. Investors are looking at the rigor and the depth of the thinking - the plan is always flexible to changes on the way.

To learn more about other questions discussed in this webinar, check out our recording on YouTube!

And don't forget to register for the second webinar of 2020, Renewable Energy: Opportunities for The Next Decade.

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