Connect with us


Carta CEO: Three mistakes founders make when fundraising




Carta CEO Henry Ward has learned his fair share about fundraising for venture capital.

To date, his equity management software company Carta has raised nearly $150 million, from its seed funding in 2012 to its most recent Series D round last December.

And it’s growing fast. The company told Business Insider recently that as of this January, its annual reoccurring revenue (ARR) reached $50 million, up from $23.2 million in 2017.

Read more:Here’s the investor deck that $800 million startup Carta used to raise $150 million in venture capital

But for Ward, the venture capital hasn’t always been flowing.

The chief exec told Business Insider that completing his initial seed round for Carta — initially known as eShares — was “brutal,” raising $1.8 million in what felt like $25,000 increments.

“It took me four months, basically non-stop. That’s all I did,” Ward said in a recent interview. “It’s part of the boot camp, or the training of an entrepreneur. You learn a ton through that process.”

Today, as a way of “paying it forward,” Ward helps coach early-stage founders with their fundraising efforts.

He told us that he sees many entrepreneurs making the same common mistakes when raising a seed round — some of which he also made while pitching investors for the first time on Silicon Valley’s storied Sand Hill Road.

The first mistake

The first mistake, Ward says, is that early-stage founders often think fundraising is an exercise in convincing investors. In reality, it’s hard to change somebody’s mind — it’s more productive, Ward says, to find investors who get what you’re going for, rather than to keep throwing yourself into a losing situation.

“Seed investors invest because they connect and find passion with the problem,” he said. “If they don’t connect and find passion, they’re just not going to do it. You can’t convince them.”

To put a fine point on it, Ward says that it’s a mistake to try to convince someone who’s already said no. Cut your losses and move on.

“There are enough seed investors in the world,” he said. “Quickly do the pitch and if it doesn’t resonate, get out and go to the next one.”

The second mistake

The second mistake seed-stage founders make, according to Ward, is thinking that their ideas are either intrinsically right or wrong, rather than understanding the market dynamics at play. Which is to say, it helps to understand any larger market trends at play.

When Ward was initially raising money for Carta back in 2012, for instance, photo-sharing apps were all the rage — and interest in a financial technology (fintech) startup like Carta was nil.

“[Investors] were like, ‘Cap tables? Really? Why aren’t you doing like photo-sharing cap tables or something?'” Ward said. “And now fintech is hot, and you can’t get a photo-sharing app funded to save your life.”

Ward says that ideas are not right or wrong, but founders must understand the venture market they’re entering and try to figure out a way to frame their idea in a way that makes sense to would-be investors, given the trends of the day.

The third mistake

Finally, Ward thinks that founders often don’t understand to whom they’re actually pitching.

He says that seed-stage investors aren’t trying to figure out if a company has a strong business case. Instead, they’re trying to figure out if a startup has a strong enough foundation to be attractive to the next wave of venture capital investors, who will pour in the Series A round, which is usually more sizable.

In other words, seed stage investors want to see a company that has the potential to last until it gets even more money in the next round of funding. That’s true, too, for Series A investors, who consider whether a company will be attractive to Series B or C investors. Even the later investors want to invest in companies that will soar in an IPO.

“Series A and B investors are thinking, what do the growth investors want? What do they get excited about? And growth people are all about what the IPO markets want,” Ward explains.

“Everyone’s just kind of looking upstream. So understanding the manufacturing lines of creating great companies and knowing where you fit in that manufacturing line is really important for founders to understand.”


Source link

قالب وردپرس


More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton




OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

Continue Reading


VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training




Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

Continue Reading


Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test




While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

Continue Reading