Venture capital is not an easy game. Not all venture capitalists have been successful investing in start ups in different fields such as infrastructure, innovation, biotechnology, information technology, or software. Investing in these types of businesses involves great risks and hard works, not to mention the huge amount of money that they have to venture in. Venture Capitalists assume enormous risks with high levels of uncertainty.
Successful VC investors accept uncertainty as an integral part of being in business. They must be ready to face many crises and allow temporary failures without having to panic. After all, failure is the mother of success. Even Thomas Edison, a genius inventor, failed a thousand times before he finally succeeded with his inventions or discoveries. Talk to an entrepreneur or to any group of up-the-corporate-ladder type businessmen who sees innovation and creativity as the path to profitability and long term sustainability, and they will share openly about failures, mistakes, and setbacks as steps along the path to success.
Venture Capitalist Adi McAbian, a 36 year old successful entrepreneur who is the managing director of TwistBox, and a board member of the Internet Task Force of Boston, has a proven track record for creating, growing and selling successful businesses. He shared that the secret lies in being able to harness that idea and quickly bring it to fruition in a cost-effective manner. “Many budding entrepreneurs get too caught up with the massive amount of detail involved in creating a burgeoning company’s infrastructure, rather than focusing on the business itself,” explains Adi McAbian, “I advocate outsourcing the basics to those that specialize in this. To be successful in this tough economic climate, you need to focus 100 percent of your attention on your business model and customers.”
On the other hand, mastering the VC game combines the right mix of facts, advices, people and stories. Integrating the experiences of notable entrepreneurs is extremely helpful and beneficial. Dee Power and Brian E. Hill, authors of Secrets to Unlocking Venture Capital for Your Company, also shared the secrets to obtaining venture capital:
Preparation – It is imperative to prepare yourself and your company in searching for seed capital or growth capital by developing a clear, concise, and realistic business plan that would make the reader excited about the opportunity that your company would present. Failing to clearly identify the opportunity is the most critical mistake that entrepreneurs make, according to venture capitalists. Before you approach an investor, speak to advisors or other entrepreneurs who have worked with them to find out as much as you can. Provide a strong and experienced management team with diverse range of expertise. And do not make simple mistakes such as wrong spelling, grammar, or computation.
Positioning – To make sure that what you are offering is what they are looking for, research the investment criteria of the venture capitalists. A company that does not match with the venture capitalists’ investment criteria is the second most common reason why they are being declined. It is also important to get referrals by other VC firms, and get one if you do not have one yet.
Perseverance – Keep trying. Do not give up. Follow up your submitted plan through phone call, fax, or email weeks after your proposal. Or you can be persistent by calling the VC firm everyday. Continue to widen your network of contacts to give you more avenues of approach to the investors. And most of all, believe in your passion about your company.
An accomplished venture capital investors spend a lot of time digging into an entrepreneur’s past failures because they believe that such failures will make an entrepreneur more amenable and responsive. Success stories have many milestones – positive and productive, or even setbacks. But it is not what you lose from setbacks, rather what you learn from it and apply that would make a ventured business a success.