‘Funding’ is one such attractive word in the dictionary of any budding entrepreneur that can have easily given him either nightmare or showed him the path to make that startup successful. Pitching your idea in front of investors hoping to get that cheque definitely gives the reality check on how difficult the journey is to get on that successful league.

Headstart, with its flagship initiative, Startup Saturday for October 2018 edition, addressed the most burning topic for every entrepreneur viz. “All about Funding”. The event saw some very inspiring and informative sessions from industry experts sharing their journey and some not so known facts. The first and very relatable speaker of the session was Kalyani Khona, CEO & Co-founder @Inclov Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Calling herself an ‘Accidental Entrepreneur’ she started her journey of following her passion at the age of 21 by building a matchmaking platform for differently-abled people. Believing in the mere idea of ‘everyone deserves love’ and the bullheadedness of not giving up attitude is what kept her going. Her initial steps of struggle started with crowd-funding followed by government funding, angel investment, Series A funding and what not. Meeting thousands of investors’ every day had definitely taught her to master the art of handling rejections. She shared these bitter but practical truths she learnt in her course of matchmaking with the investors:

  • Your passion for your idea is any day going to be more than your investor. Take the guidance from the investor but don’t sell your passion for your startup.
  • The investors don’t go for a unique proposition. They only invest in something if they are comfortable and they feel they can derive some value out of it.
  • Don’t agree for less money if you don’t feel the value is enough for your startup.

Followed by the above session, Dr Preet Deep Singh, Manager @ Invest India gave some important insights on the way government supports the startup ecosystem. Invest India is set up as a non-profit venture under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

Dr Singh cleared the notion that Invest India doesn’t invest on their own but help to bring the foreign investment in India and funds the funds who invest in startups. It also works with several Indian states to build capacity as well as bring in the best global practices to grow the startup ecosystem. He talked about various benefits government provides for startups like easy access to funds, income tax holidays, no time-consuming compliances, easy exit strategies etc.

Building Effective Pitch Decks:

We had Garima Seth, Director @ WIEF, having expertise in guiding startups in raising funds at all stages, to give us some insights on how to build an effective pitch deck. She emphasized the importance of the pitch deck as it is the first interaction between investor and entrepreneur that can change the fate of the startup. Below are the few important inclusions that can make the pitch deck effective:

  • Keep it simple for the investor to understand and empathize.
  • Include impactful one-liners for your USP to grab the investors’ attention.
  • Build the story around the problem that your startup is supposed to solve and how are people managing so far with that problem.
  • The solution.
  • Who are your competitors and how different are you from them?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the Revenue Model?
  • What is the marketing and sales strategy?
  • Who runs the business- THE TEAM?

VC’s perspective on Funding:

Post abovementioned session, we had a very informative panel discussion headed by Shweta Singh, Principal @ Sri Capital and Nayrhit Bhattacharya, Chiratae Ventures. The panel was moderated by Ojasvi Bhatia, City Lead @ Headstart Gurgaon.

Below are the insights from their take on investor’s side of a story for funding any startup:

  • At the initial stage, it is highly recommended to go for Bootstrapping as the source of Funding rather than going to an Investor to fund in exchange of Equity.
  • The Entrepreneur should really be passionate about his/her idea of solving the problem as the journey of starting up is extremely hard and if you are not passionate enough, you will definitely give up.
  • Business Model of the startup should not be vague. It is expected out of the Founders to have a considerable amount of Domain Experience in the field of the business the startup falls.
  • Investors can provide an invaluable support to Entrepreneurs post-funding in building connects, technology support, marketing support, providing guidance, hiring etc.

Thank you for reading.

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About Headstart:

Since our inception in 2007, we have built a grassroots level ecosystem in 23 Indian cities and organised over 1000 startup events focused on networking, mentoring, hiring and fundraising. Our work has played a role in getting over 10,000 new ventures off the ground. Some of the young startups that made their early stage demos on our platform are now unicorns. Cumulatively all these companies have created over 20Lk jobs and added over 148,000 Crores to the Indian economy. You’d be surprised to know, Headstart is almost entirely run by passionate volunteers. We have a bold vision for India, and as empowered citizens we do whatever little we can do, to further it.

Contributed by: Shefali Singh Bhatia, Volunteer @ Headstart Gurgaon