Founders and investors often sit at opposite sides of the table, but when they come together to build great companies, magic happens. At TheVentureCity we not only look for the next “iguanacorn”, but we also look to pair them with the most trusted investors in our network. In tandem with our Demo Days, in which our founders pitch their startups to investors, we hosted our third and fourth Reverse Pitches, where investors and VCs sat in the hot seat and took the virtual stage to try to convince startups to choose them as their partners for growth.
On two occasions during the past week, representatives of VC’s throughout Western Europe gave their pitches to founders, detailing everything from their investment criteria to their ticket sizes, and answered questions from many of the 85 startups in attendance.
Although a foreign practice to some, investors and founders alike welcomed this new challenge with open arms. Eduardo Ortiz de Lanzagorta González, Co-founder of Fuell, a graduate of the Product Led Growth Program, shared the following as founder listening to the VC pitches, “An interesting experience, having to prepare a 5-minute pitch for entrepreneurs. In most cases, it is a new task for VCs. The work dedicated to creating that 5-minute pitch to demonstrate the value generated to startups, the principles of the fund, the “founder-friendly” culture, etc. can be a good, real sample of the commitment to entrepreneurs, and the attention that they will give to you in the future.”
Investors supported the relatively new practice as well. “It’s always great to do the reverse pitch, I had a lot of fun! Establishing a relationship when VCs invest in companies must always work in both directions. Choose your VCs wisely and always do your due diligence on them!” said Jacek Lubinski, Principal at Market One Capital based in Warsaw.
As part of our Product Led Growth Program, one of the aspects that we prepare our startups for is fundraising. If a startup does choose to raise venture capital, we prepare them for everything that this implies. A VC’s job does not end when the check is signed, aside from the firm’s values, founders must consider the resources that a VC will offer in return, be it giving them access to a large customer base, or a new investor; sharing their operational expertise around the key areas of product and growth; finding a key hire; or advising on internationalization. In the end, a VC should be a partner that works with you through thick or thin to accomplish a common goal.
Andy Areitio, our Investment Partner for the Americas, gives his take on picking the right investor when chasing venture capital. “The most valuable support is the one that helps the founder excel in their performance – and that typically has to do with their mindset. Founders, not investors, are the ones doing the driving. Sometimes the best thing an investor can do is cheerlead and believe in a founder even when the market does not, other times it’s about telling a founder the hard truth or telling them to push further. When the going gets tough, you will need people to have faith in you until the good results come back.”
At TheVentureCity we combine the best elements of the venture and acceleration model, providing startups with the technical know-how as well as the financial backing to grow their products. Our Dream Team, coming from high-growth companies like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, eBay, and others, guides every startup on a path to achieve a profitable, repeatable, and scalable growth model.
After such promising results and adoption from both our founders and partner investors, we plan to continue with this practice, one that levels the playing field amongst startups and VCs to create a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem.