Shepreneurs Looking to Raise Funds? Follow these Tips Before You Start the Campaign
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India is one of the largest startups hubs in the world and yet, less than 10 per cent of ventures are founded by women entrepreneurs and very few among them have managed to raise external funding.
While one can blame the ecosystem and its patriarchal mindset, ladies it is up to you take to bring the change and take charge of the situation.
If raising moolah seems to be a difficult task, follow these tips from fellow shepreneurs to upgrade your fundraising game:
Understand your need
Ambika Sharma, MD & Founder, Pulp Strategy suggests fellow shepreneurs to first thoroughly understand your need for the capital.
Even though entrepreneurs always believe they need to have additional funds at their disposal, Sharma’s take is that extra capital always comes with liability.
She says, “If your audience is left unconvinced or if you are not able to deliver the promised results post fundraise then your credibility is at risk. Therefore, you must meticulously analyse your requirement before launching such a campaign.”
On the other side, Shilpa Malik, Founder, Bioscan Research Pvt. Ltd believes entrepreneurs should invest time in building a milestone map and a business plan to support it.
She says, “All the fundraising news that we hear or read in newspapers is very inspiring, but there are many who aren't making this news and are successful. Every entrepreneur’s journey is different and so should be fundraising. I believe an entrepreneur must raise funds at a time when he or she has eliminated the risk factor. The time of risk factor elimination may differ for each entrepreneur.”
Entrepreneurs may reduce risk in various ways – one can evaluate the technology or develop a proof of concept along with the minimal viable product.
“If you can't reach this stage by bootstrapping, you either need to find a co-founder with domain expertise or you need to raise funds to hire this person,” the iCreate incubate entrepreneur added.
Once you have analysed your needs, shepreneurs should try and set individual targets – the results you would deliver post the exercise and the total funds would require to achieve it.
Sharma from Pulp Strategy advices entrepreneurs to “not make your targets overly ambitious and always keep a good cushion as it is much better to claim that your campaign did better than anticipated rather than explaining why it fell ‘slightly’ short of the expectations.”
Now depending on the industry that you are operating in and how old is your venture, there are multiple sources of funding available in the market
For example, at the idea stage, there are prototyping grants from the government while at the proof of concept (PoC) stage, there are angel investors, during the launch stage one can collaborate with accelerators, and at the growth stage, there are equity funds.
Which is why, Malik asks entrepreneurs to explore these resources and start talking to them.
“Your early interactions would make you better prepared and also would help you in gauging the probability of success. Also, these early interactions help in building trust. While the interested investors can track you over a period of time before making the final commitment, you can hear their investment stories from media and other startups,” the shepreneur added.
This stage is one of the most important part of the campaign wherein you will either make it or break it. Hence, your pitching skills need to upgrade.
“ Make your pitch as interesting and appealing as you can for your target audience. To do so, you must have a strong idea about its inherent inclinations and what drives the people that follow you,” Sharma advocated while adding that, “Keep everything succinct and still compelling enough for them to take action, and if you’re able to pull it off effectively, that will be all that you need to do.”