Boardman Grow and Finance Board 2019 brought together a wide sphere of start-up entrepreneurs, growth companies, investors and service providers. One amazing keynote speaker after another shared their valuable experience and advice, and investors put their pitching skills to the test in the reverse pitching sessions. The excitement over growth was palpable.
A glimpse into what we learned:
The “black box” of the investor is always unique
Investors do not always search for the same thing in a company, and it’s not only the data that matters. As human beings, investors tend to evaluate companies not only via data, but also emotional factors. However, it is crucial to have your current finances in order, hold proof of a clean track record and a strong potential for growth. An investor will only be interested if they feel they add value to the company.
A movement towards sustainability impact
Not every company in the world sets out to save the world, but when faced with a revolutionary, possibly-world-saving idea, it’s smart to leverage it. Investors often use internationally approved indexes and questionnaires to evaluate potential start-ups and growth companies, so even when your company is not focusing on producing eco-solutions, it’s important to spend some time reflecting what factors in those indexes are crucial for your business. Sustainability will continue to increase in importance, and the focus of ESG and impact has never had more value.
Anchor investors are essential for growth
Success requires courage from both you and your investor. An investor that functions as an anchor, a courageous specimen who sees the potential in your business, will lead others to you and help you achieve your highest aspirations. The anchor investor validates your case, so make sure to communicate quickly, in the right forums, and implement creative, out-of-the-box ideas during every step of the way.
Spend time working on Due Diligence
Due Diligence consists of reviews, discussion, and analysis of your processes and internal business environment. The detailed process takes time but is worth the effort – a mistake in your numbers or data could lead to losing important deals. Always consider your investor when conducting due diligence – what is it that they’re looking for? A relevant, multi-faceted process is not only relevant for your investors, but your company and internal operations as well.
Distil yourself into a diamond
When applying for public funding, keep an open mind and do everything in your power to communicate and connect with the public sector investors. Build a proper board early enough and get your corporate governance in order, as public funding rounds might take their time and require detailed preparation.
Get to know your investors
See how different investors function in practice. Every single process is unique, so take time in connecting and discussing opportunities. Conducting a comparison with at least three investment bankers and seeing what they really do is a good place to start.
Photos and words by Emma Koivusalo