A $50M acquisition gave $0 to the founder

I have posted a number of times in the past on how the most important element of any funding package is the deal terms. That deal terms are what you should be negotiating, not the valuation. And how if an investor wants to give you anything other than common shares, no matter how ‘normal’ they say it is – or how excited you are about your business – that you […]

7 Presentation Secrets all Great CEOs Know

I gave a talk at Founder Institute Toronto earlier this week, on the 7 presentation secrets that all great CEOs know. I know these secrets through a 15 year career of pitching for investment, which has resulted in my raising funds from over 50 different investors (I also had lots of rejections to learn from). Many of these ‘secrets’ are based on simple human psychology: presenting things in a way […]

Why All Angel Investments Should be in Common Shares

I read David Rose’s book on angel investing during a recent holiday. It does an excellent job of explaining how professional angel investors (should) think. For those who don’t know, David is the founder of New York Angels, and is one of the world’s best known angel investors. However, David, like many professional investors, makes one major mistake in his chapter on deal terms. He specifies two ways for angel […]

A simple trick to get more investors

I still remember a horrible pitch session I was at in Silicon Valley over 5 years ago. I was pitching Skymeter, a potentially multi-billion dollar transport technology business, with deep patented technology, that had won industry awards. The guy before me was pitching a set of wireless drum sticks that let you play ‘air drums’. Shake them in the middle right and get a snare drum sound, top left cymbal, […]

Lying in fundraising: does it matter?

I just discovered that someone I know, and had drinks with multiple times, has been charged by the Ontario Securities Commission with fraud, and will be sentenced later this month. He was a fund manager. And I also think of him as an entrepreneur, because he was launching his own fund. His story holds a strong lesson for all entrepreneurs.

The five reasons why investors don’t invest in your startup

Investors want to invest in a successful business. Wouldn’t you want to too? Unfortunately you, as an early stage company, aren’t successful yet. And yet every day, around the world, tens of thousands of investors make an investment in early stage companies. Why are they getting funded and not you? There are five reasons why investors don’t want to invest in your startup. Here’s what they are, and what you […]

Three Canadian companies win ‘Ready for Funding’ Competition

Three young Canadian companies have won the second quarterly IncMind Ready for Funding Competition, sponsored by Cognition LLP and BDO. They are Altranex, an innovator in sustainable bio-chemicals, Eve Medical, an innovator in medical testing devices, and Managing Life, makers of an award-winning pain management app. The three firms have each won a one-hour investment pitch meeting with one or more appropriate investors, including OMERS Ventures, two private family offices, […]

Fundraising made easy

Raising funds can seem intimidating for new CEOs. The actual process – the execution – is very simple and straightforward. That’s why we run our Ready for Funding Competition for Canadian companies, to walk them through this process once, so they are ready to do it for real with an investor. If you are, or know, a Canadian company, outside Quebec, consider applying to our competition by end of day […]

What’s your business worth?

Most entrepreneurs want to know what their business is worth, especially if they are fundraising. An entrepreneur asked me exactly that question today. He has a software business, and he had found a university professor’s paper online with a methodology for valuing different pieces of software. He wanted to see what I thought of it. The simple answer is you can use all the methodologies in the world: your business […]

Underdeveloped finance

I have an interest in microfinance (that’s a long term goal for IncMind: to serve even the smallest businesses). There was some interesting data in a recent report by CGAP. Specifically, they say that in East Asia 27% of people have loans from friends or family, and only 9% of people have loans from a ‘formal financial institution’ (i.e., bank). There are good parallels with the market for early stage […]