Over the last few weeks I have been on what some say is an impossible quest. Raising capital in today’s economy. The journey is not a new one and the road has many twists and turns. It’s taken me from the coffee shops of Phoenix, to the islands north of Vancouver and the mountains of Winnipeg. From Singapore to Europe and back to Arizona again.
The two projects could not be more different.
One – a biotech company is pre-revenue with a vision of detecting dread diseases, including cancers, before the disease can spread and harm the ones we love. SBIR funding and early stage capital has taken them far in the lab, but now to commercialize takes funding from the equity markets or strategic partners if we are to make vision reality.
The second – a manufacturing company – has product, inventory, a proven system, an experienced sales and management team, AND, best of all, customers.
In multiple conversations, across multiple continents, in the quest for money, the secret is to find the RIGHT partner and show them the value. Only then will they ‘show me the money.’
I have not reached the end of the quest yet, but I am learning along the way. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned:
1. Be creative – funding streams can come in all forms from traditional lending and equity, to more creative funding streams like loan guarantees and debt conversions.
2. Be passionate – if you can’t get excited about what your opportunity- how can you get an investor excited?
3. Be flexible – they have what you need. You can’t call all the shots. Know what points you can flex on and those you can’t without jeopardizing the success of the business plan.
4. Do your homework – not just on the company you are working to build but on the needs of a potential investor. What do you need and when. What do they need and when. Look for strong matches.
5. Reach out to your network and listen. You’d be surprised who knows who or who’s done what in the past. Your network can connect you to the perfect partner if you take the time to listen.
So wish me luck along the journey and stay tuned…