Securing funding is no mean feat. so it’s a good idea to collect as much investment advice as possible before facing the challenge head-on. Throughout April, we will have tonnes of resources to share with you – such as our five insights for pre-seed investment and Amba’s advice on becoming an investable entrepreneur. 

For Investment Month here at TechSPARK, our friends over at ADLIB have been chatting to founders who have embarked on the journey of raising funds to propel their startups to the next level. 

ADLIB asked five founders the same question – Investment can often be a challenge for startups & scaleups. Do you have any piece of wisdom you could share around the best approach?

Here’s what the founders had to say… 

CytoSeek is enabling the next generation of cell therapies through its artificial membrane-binding protein technology.

Carolyn Porter, CEO at CytoSeek

“There are a number of things, build your own network and choose Board members who complement and enhance your network of investors and partners. A great peer network can also give you the opportunity to test your strategy and refine it before airing to investors and peers can also provide introductions. 

“Selecting advisors with relevant experience and their own network can also add value. Be persistent and resilient as you go out to raise; as you often need to speak to multiple investors to close your round.”

Jenny Bailey, Chief Executive Officer at Ferryx

Ferryx is working on the development of innovative bacterial treatments for gastrointestinal inflammatory disease.

“I think the best piece of advice that I heard, and I have certainly used, it to talk to anybody who will listen. Have your elevator pitch in your head and talk to everyone, because you never know who might be able to open a door for you. Don’t be shy!

“We had our first revenue in January this year from AB Agri, and we are fundraising at the moment looking for equity investment of £270k to accelerate our growth into the human pharmaceutical market.”

FluoretiQ is a rapid bacterial identification technology that can diagnose infection within minutes, leading to faster treatment & recovery.

Neciah Dorh, CEO and Founder of FluoretiQ

“Network goes without saying, if investors haven’t heard of you, then it is hard to get their attention. Take advantage of networks being set up in the UK and all over the world, through new digital offerings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is also important to research the investors that you plan to approach to ensure that your company and fundraise fit their investment criteria. This will avoid wasting your time and theirs! But ultimately, don’t give up as it may not be the right time now but never say never.”

Konstantina Psoma, Co-founder & CEO at Kaedim

Kaedim is a platform that makes high fidelity digital 3D asset creation at scale accessible to everyone. Their AI powered toolkit dramatically reduces the time and cost of production and enables more creators to be involved in the construction of our 3D future.

“Investment is difficult at the best of times and everyone is even more risk-averse at the moment. People don’t want to invest money when there is a huge crisis knocking at our door.

“From my experience, every angel or VC is going to want something different. Someone is going to want a strong marketing team or a lot of partners or very experienced founders. A very common trap that people fall into is trying to please everyone, because this is impossible. You cannot have everything VCs might possibly want.

“I think if you do that and have a clear path and strategy, the time will come where you find someone who says “wow, take my money, I like your vision and I believe in your plan and strategy” this is where everything will fall into place. The thing is that this won’t be your first or second try. It might be your 100th try, the one when you find someone that truly understands the opportunity and truly believes in the vision. They believe that you are providing a painkiller, believe in the team, they like the strategy and want to see the same future happening.”

Adrian Shedden, Co-Founder of Lumio

Lumio is the next generation of personal finance. With all your accounts in one place.

“I’d probably say read this Medium article from fellow founder and CEO of Tumelo, Georgia Stewart: Start-up seed funding guide: joy > pain

“I had the benefit of Georgia’s advice from experience having just raised before she wrote the article. To me it’s a fundraising must-read from someone who’s recently been in the trenches. I can’t put it any better, so will leave it there!”

Emily Kent Co-Founder of One Big Circle

One Big Circle is technology specialists, leading in the fields of video, integration and scalability.

“With our previous experience in being acquired and the consequences there, we were determined that One Big Circle had to be revenue-generating and profitable right from the start without reliance on funding, so that meant we tweaked things a bit early on and did a bit of consultancy to enable us to reinvest that into our core product development.

“What we wanted was a really sustainable business model before we looked for investment. That put us in a position of strength and made the investment process feel very natural. We didn’t rush into it too early. So we were two and a half years in before we went for investment, which meant we’d proven the business model. We were revenue-generating, and we’d won a couple of smaller grants to enable us to do that, but we didn’t want to look at that as the crutch that held us up, we wanted them to be an accelerator.

“Some of our early revenue generation was off scope but it gave us the revenue to reinvest in ourselves early on. When our external investment came, we were in a much stronger position and it has been a really positive and exciting development for us just at the right time. I would say to try and establish a robust business model which ensures sustainability before looking for investment so it will come at the right point in your journey.”

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Ben Oliver

Ben is our Social Media Manager, he oversees all the content that goes out on our channels, including the latest articles, interviews and events to keep you updated with everything tech in the South West.