INSIDE THE INVESTOR'S MINDS
It’s safe to say, here’s where the real work begins. How do you get this idea of yours to the point of hatching? More so, if yours has already hatched, how are your finances fixed to help get your idea off the ground?
We’re guessing since you’re here now, funding is the missing piece of the puzzle. The one component you are lacking to get this idea out of its shell and into the big, wide world.
Well, ours is a company who places value in this thing called ‘due diligence’– hopefully, yours is the same? This process involves multiple steps – a few mini, but mostly mega – to reach a point where our team feels every detail, however miniscule, has been thought through in full and we’re 100% confident this idea has wings. Put simply, when it comes to funding a business venture, we want to back a winner, every time.
Below, you’ll find an insight into funding from the investor’s perspective. So that you can prepare yourself in full for the road ahead – whether its Dotcom Ventures looking to collaborate with you, or any investor. Some might say, lining up your ducks. We say, preparing the land ready to build!
We’re often asked, do we limit our investments to a specific industry? In short, no. In fact, that’s entirely the opposite of what Dotcom Ventures is about. Allowing ideas to flourish, without limitation, and reach the stars if that’s where they’re bound for, is what makes us tick. It is very much a ‘never say never’ attitude among the team at Dotcom Ventures, as we await the founders of tomorrow having their lightbulb moment and uncovering the next big thing.
It’s true, our investments so far have clustered around Blockchain, Fintech, Storage Solutions, Consumer, Enterprise and Healthcare – all sectors where innovation continues to thrive. But that’s not where our curiosity ends. If you’re building something different, we still want to hear from you and learn about your vision for the future, whatever it looks like.
Allow us to share with you our number one factor for making a decision on a new venture: the founding team.
Correct, it’s the people behind the concept who receive the first assessment. You’ll need to demonstrate how innovative, resourceful and resilient you are. Explain your superpowers and how they set you apart from the pack. Justify your self-belief in finding success where others before you have failed. Prove how well you thrive when faced with adversity.
Of course, we’ll spend time evaluating your product and its market, too, but our experience tells us the strength of a company’s founders is fundamental. Evaluating what you’ve done already for this company, and prior throughout your career, provides us with a solid view of the hundreds if not thousands of decisions you have made before arriving where you are today. And that’s what drives success in this industry: the ability for founders to make really good decisions, and quickly. Understanding just how you do this is key.
So, you have your concept; it may have even evolved further into a product or service. When it comes to ideas, what matters most to us is your understanding of the world in which you operate. How compelling – perhaps contrarian - your vision. What you understand about the market’s need that others in your sector are getting wrong or missing all together. And why yours is the company that can win. That’s what our team addresses first of all.
Next, and this applies only to those who already have a product in the market, having a group of existing customers is a great sign for us. If people are already using your product or service and reliant on you, we want to know about it! Because that’s one of the strongest points you can offer us, right there. On top of this, we want to see creative thinking around your go-to-market strategy. Why? Because the best startups take both of these two elements seriously.
Last of all, we take a close look at the market you’re going after. Let’s say you have well and truly produced a winner. Tell us, is the prize actually worth winning? The business-building game is long and arduous, with some markets more rewarding than others and it must be clear yours is a market with advantageous rewards. In other words, before a founder starts to build their castle, it is essential they have selected the right piece of land on which to build!
Building a company to stand the test of time is not easy. It takes the strongest of characters, with a solid mindset, and a will to break down barriers on repeat. Seriously! You can’t wait for someone to hand you a roadmap. Guess what? There IS no roadmap! At least, not until you have drawn one for yourself and begin to utilize it. Possessing this level of mind-set is exceedingly rare — and it’s what we are hoping to find in every founder conversation we have.
Then comes a whole bunch of other traits or skills you’ll need to be a success - the typical stuff you’ll be aware of – like integrity, credibility, market understanding, and learning ability.
No instant gratification.
It’s the toughest of roles, being a founder, where deferring your happiness and victory is very much the norm. When we consider working with you, we look for evidence in your early life and career where you have been happy to graft and wait for the rewards. Did you ever skip a holiday to pursue a long-term project? Did you work alongside your studies while you were in school? Have you built anything that took months in ‘head-down, crunch mode’ to make it possible? We find the most successful entrepreneurs are those willing to make short term sacrifices for long term gain.
In our experience, there are only two distinct types of entrepreneur. One assumes they’re expected to know the answer to every question we ask. So, they’ll make sure they always have a definitive response, even when it isn’t necessary. They explain their pricing model in great depth, how they plan to compete with Google, and the cause of customer churn every three years. Each time we try to address the potential risks, we are told none exist. The second type of entrepreneur will answer questions only when they can, and if they are unsure, they will say so. When asked the question around pricing, they’ll respond with something like, “Well, we’re considering a few different options depending on the outcome of some tests we’re running.” When asked about the cost of customer acquisition, their reply will be similar to, “We don’t yet know what our numbers will be, but here’s our model based on comparable companies.” When asked about the risks, they can identify several and engage in open discussion about how to handle each one. We’re sure you’ll know which type of founder we tend to work with. The one who can admit their ignorance. No one expects you to have all the answers – in fact, it will likely put us off if you do. We would much rather understand how you plan to overcome risks, attack the market and reach your goals.
Every successful founder needs to have the ability to tell a good story. We cannot stress enough how important a factor this is to your success! In fact, storytelling is absolutely crucial when you’re selling a new concept. You have to convince investors and employees that this incredibly unlikely ‘thing’ you’re all working on is about to take the world by storm! You have to capture media attention, keep your board aligned and energized, and consistently bring new customers into the fold all at once. Without the ability to tell an amazing story, then it’s unlikely you’ll make it over the finish line.
We’ll admit, it takes some convincing Dotcom Ventures you’re the right fit for your market so, be ready with a very strong argument if yours doesn’t appear the most obvious one! We’re not saying you have to be an expert, either — just able to demonstrate why you’ll succeed in the one you’re headed into.
Speed of Play.
In our experience, the best founders move very, very quickly. From the moment you approach us, we’ll be watching closely to see what you’re doing with yourself during the next few weeks that follow, looking for clear indicators of your ability to act fast. Because we only work with founders who demonstrate their hunger and ability to succeed.
Contact our team today and let’s chat investment.