Series A Fundraising Checklist

Pete Flint from US seed-stage venture firm NfX has published a 13-point checklist of key proof points that firms should have when pitching for a Series A. Many of these items are arguably needed for any business pitching for funding at any time, but are must-haves for Series A. We see a lot of project ideas that are missing several of these items, and it makes it very easy for someone to criticise the project when something just isn’t there. Crossing off everything on the list means that the investors can properly engage with the team and actually understand the strength of the idea/company.

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Four Simple Pitch Tips

Melanie Perkins, CEO and co-founder of Australian unicorn Canva, has shared four pitch tips with Forbes. They’re surprisingly simple, but they carry a lot of truth with them and are key for any sort of presentation, whether you are pitching for millions in investment capital or engaging with public audiences.

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Both Sides of the Table – Governance for Early Stage Companies

Mark Suster from Upfront Ventures, an early-stage investment fund based in Los Angeles, has written an excellent series on how to run a governance board for an early-stage company. It’s great because it’s written for both management teams (i.e. founders and CEOs) as well as board members, and has a lot of honesty. It also serves to highlight why early-stage governance is so different to governance for later-stage established companies.

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11 Lessons from Angel Investing

VentureHacks and Spearhead have published a list of 11 important lessons to keep in mind for angel investing, and many of the same principles apply for anyone in the early-stage investment space. While not all the lessons apply directly for our fund, the first couple are particularly important – we have to make some difficult calls sometimes and say no to investment opportunities that look pretty good, but aren’t quite good enough. We don’t have as much luxury here in New Zealand to just sit around and wait for founders to contact us – we have to work hard on improving deal origination so that we can help create more opportunities for everyone.

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The Art of the M&A Exit

Over at Forbes, Alejandro Cremades interviews Duke Rohlen – you may not have heard of him, but it turns out he has successfully grown and exited four medtech companies for a total of over US$1 billion. Thinking about potential exit strategies from the very beginning is key, alongside building integrity and trust with all parties. The trick is that Rohlen puts the business model first, then the team, and the technology last – often the opposite of what a lot of entrepreneurs do.

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Product-Market Fit

In the perennial argument around whether the product is more important than the team, or the other way around, this article by Marc Andreesen (of Andreesen Horowitz fame) from 2007 makes a strong case for arguing that the product-market fit is the only thing that matters. This reorients the discussion towards developing and building a market – it doesn’t matter how cool or shiny the technology behind the product is, and a strong team can waste a lot of time, if they are pointed towards a market that simply doesn’t exist or does not want the product. Read the article here:

Build First, or Validate First?

Ren Butler offers some analysis over at Startup Daily about one of the common questions for very early-stage start-ups – given constrained time and resources, do we build the technology and product first so we have something tangible, or do we go out and validate the market first so we know if there are customers? Validating the market can be a scary proposition for new entrepreneurs, but it’s a critical step for improving the likelihood of success in a venture, and for wooing investors. Read more here:

Insurance and Tech Startups

Law firm Simmonds Stewart has partnered with Delta Insurance to write an article about when and why tech startups should get insurance. It’s often one of the last things that entrepreneurs think about (a grudge purchase), and people assume that as long as nothing goes wrong they’ll be fine. But when something goes wrong, in start-ups those errors can be extremely costly and be on a big scale – insurance is a lifesaver! Read more here: