Berg Moe Inc.

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Tag: Investor

Do not degenerate yourself and your visions

We had a wonderful 10th anniversary in Norwegian Entrepreneur Association and we had engaged the comedian and entrepreneur Jon Schau. He was quite an experience. One of his main messages was “be true to your idea and who you are”, and I wanted to play a little further on this message the next day. I wake up and made a blog post that have made several Norwegian entrepreneurs and a few politicians reaching out to me.

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Jon Schau at the 10th anniversary in Norwegian Entrepreneur Association in Drammen. Photo: Odd Moe

The situation in Norway is special because there is a lack of private business angels. Seed funding is mostly provided by the government through their state organisation called Innovation Norway. There are some professional seed funds that are coming up and running now funded with 50% oil money, and that will hopefully be a game changer.

In Norway most of the entrepreneurs from day one have to adapt to the system by having to have one gameplan towards Innovation Norway relating to getting funding and grants while the real plan lies in the back of their head ready for use when they have the money. My recommendation in the blog post was;

“Be true to yourself , say what you believe is right and do not degenerate yourself and your vision in the face of the system”. “Wherever crazy, politically incorrect or spectacular your idea is, you will always find investors, partners and others who have thought some of the same thoughts as you and who understands you. It takes just a little longer!”

So do we have a problem in Norway? I think that too many bright people and good ideas have left this beautiful country because of reasons mentions above.

I feel it is happening positive thinks and we have a government that really want to do something and change the system. There are a lot of good intentions, but there are issues regarding cultures that changes slowly up here in the north.

“Norway can never be Silicon Valley – but we can be much more if we define our space.”

We for sure have the financial power of the oil fund if we are willing to us it to create the future.

Notes on raising seed financing

Chris Dixon is the co-founder of Hunch and of seed fund Founder Collective. This blog originally appeared here.

I recently taught a class via Skillshare (disclosure: Founder Collective is an investor) about how to raise a seed round. After a long day I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and I stayed well past the scheduled end time. I think it worked well because the audience was full of people actually starting companies, and they came well prepared (they were all avid readers of tech blogs and had seemed to have done a lot of research).
I sketched some notes for the class which I’m posting below. I’ve written ad nauseum on this blog (see contents page) about venture financing so hadn’t planned to blog more on the topic. But since I wrote up these notes already, here they are.
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1. Best thing is to either never need to raise money or to raise money after you have a product, users, or customers. Also helps a lot if you’ve started a successful business before or came from a senior position at a successful company.
2. Assuming that’s not the case, it’s very difficult to raise money, even when people (e.g. press) are saying it’s easy and “everyone is getting funded.”
3. Fundraising is an extremely momentum-based process. Hardest part is getting “anchor” investors. These are people or institutions who commit significant capital (more than $100,000) and are respected in the tech community or in the specific industry you are going after (e.g. successful fashion people investing in a fashion-related startup).
4. Investors like to wait (“flip another card over”) while you want to hurry. Lots of investors like to wait until other investors they respect commit. Hence a sort of Catch-22. As Paul Graham says:
By far the biggest influence on investors’ opinions of a startup is the opinion of other investors. There are very, very few who simply decide for themselves. Any startup founder can tell you the most common question they hear from investors is not about the founders or the product, but “who else is investing?”
5. Network like crazy:
Make sure you have good Google results (this is your first impression in tech). Have a good bio page (on your blog, LinkedIn and About.me) and blog/tweet to get Google juice.
Get involved in your local tech community. Join meetups. Help organize events. Become a hub in the local tech social graph.
Meet every entrepreneur and investor you can. Entrepreneurs tend to be more accessible and sympathetic and can often make warm intros to investors.
Avoid anyone who asks you to pay for intros (even indirectly like committing to a law firm in exchange for intros).
Don’t be afraid to (politely) overreach and get rejected.
6. Get smart on the industry:
Read TechCrunch, Business Insider, GigaOm, Techmeme, HackerNews, Fred Wilson’s blog, Mark Suster’s blog, etc (and go back and read the archives). Follow investor/startup people on Twitter (Sulia has some good lists to get you started here and here).
Research every investor and entrepreneur extensively before you meet them. Entrepreneurs love it when you’ve used their product and give them constructive feedback. It’s like bringing a new parent a kid’s toy. Investors like it when you are smart about their portfolio and interests.
6. How much to raise? Enough to hit an accretive milestone plus some buffer. (more)
7. What terms should you look for? Here are ideal terms. You need to understand all these terms and also the difference between convertible notes and equity. More generally, it’s a good idea to spend a few days getting smart about startup-related law – this is a good book to start with.
8. Types of capital: strategic angels (industry experts), non-strategic angels (not industry experts, not tech investors), tech angels, seed funds, VCs.
VCs can be less valuation sensitive and have deep pockets but are sometimes buying options so come with some risks (more).
Industry experts can be really nice complements to tech investors (especially in b2b companies). (more)
Non-strategic angels (rich people with no relevant expertise) might not help as much but might be more patient and ok with “lifestyle businesses.”
Tech angels and seed funds tend to be most valuation sensitive but can sometimes make up for it by helping in later financing rounds.
9. Pitching:
Have a short slide deck, not a business plan.
Pitch yourself first, idea second.
Pitch the upside, not the mean
Size markets using narratives, not numbers
10. Co-founders: they are good if for no other reason than moral support. Find ones that complement you. Decide on responsibilities, equity split, etc. early and document it. (Legal documents don’t hurt friendships – they preserve them).
11. Incubators like Y Combinator and TechStars can be great. 99 percent of the people I know who participated in them say it was worth it.
12. To investors, the sexiest word in the English language is “oversubscribed.” Sometimes it makes tactical sense to start out raising a smaller round than you actually want to end up with.

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