26 Sep What do founders get from VCs? (apart from the obvious)
When a startup takes investment from a VC, they get valuable capital to fund their growth. But that’s not all. 2 inspirational founders tell the SaaSGrowth2018 audience what else VCs offer.
In June we staged our first Sales Confidence conference at HereEast, in London’s Olympic Park. We called it SaaSGrowth2018. We had over 200 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 30 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our SaaSGrowth2018 articles.
VCs and founders panel
Our first panel discussion of the afternoon session was titled:
‘Investors and founders on raising capital, managing and accelerating SaaS businesses, and what future SaaS opportunities exist in the UK and Europe’
Quite a broad remit there, but I think we managed to cover it! The founders on our panel were Tom Lavery from Jiminny and Tim Hampson from SalesSeek. Flavia Richardson from Funding London asked the questions.
Putting money to one side for a minute…
‘For our founders, how have VCs helped you on your journey to grow?’
For Tim Hampson at SalesSeek, one of the biggest benefits of taking on VC investment was being able to tap into their VC’s network.
‘When you’re plugged with VC investors, it’s incredibly useful to network with other CEOs. Everyone’s got some hints and tips on how they do things. I get a lot of value out of that.’
It makes sense. When you take investment from a VC, you’re joining a club of other startups in the portfolio. The ability to share information, what works and what doesn’t, must be a huge benefit. The best investors will make introductions and recommend who is best to talk to in particular situations. They know who has been there and done it.
For Tom Lavery of Jiminny, it’s all about building a relationship.
‘When you’re making a choice about an investor. For me it’s not about the valuation, it’s about the relationship. If you haven’t got the same mindset on the end goal, you’re pretty much screwed from day 1.’
‘Our investors believed in what we’re doing, that we’re a ‘culture first’ business. They were aligned with our goals. It was a great relationship because we were all on the same page. Everyone wanted to deliver the same thing.’
Tom has always been realistic about his business and what he is creating, which often jars with investors who are looking for the next unicorn. In the long-run, however, building a relationship with common goals comes first.
Tim Hampson offered one final benefit. He loves to see the pitch decks that his investors are sent.
‘It’s incredibly useful to see pitch decks as they come through. It gives me tremendous intelligence on the market, even if it’s nothing to do with my business. Even if it’s automated kiosks, it’s all useful!’
‘It’s useful knowing what people are thinking about, what kind of customers they’re looking at, size of markets. It gives me a 360 view.’
What do you think?
Over to you now. If you’re a founder who has taken VC investment, what other benefits have you received other than funding? How else could investors help startups in their portfolio? Let us know down in the comments.