5 Fundraising Tips from Labs Mentors

Creating your deck, honing your pitch, hooking investors—find out what experts and people who've successfully fundraised recommend when it's time to raise money.

"Not all money is the same shade of green. When raising your first round, you will of course be focussed on getting enough money to give you the runway to survive until your second round. While all money is green, some money is greener. Keep an eye out for angels and seed funds that will give you more than just money - this includes sector-specific sales leads, introductions to the relevant accelerators and VCs for your next stage, detailed technical advice and know-how, prior experience from investing in companies in this space or even running businesses in this space." - Sharad Agarwal, Principal Researcher at Microsoft

"Get your story straight.  It cannot be underscored enough that in your pitch you explain what I call the 5W, who are you are, what you are making, for who, where and when might I use the thing you are making. People think they explain, they often do not. The last thing you want is to decide you need to raise, you research the investor and then that investor walks away from your pitch not understanding anything about your business." - Adaora Udoji, Head of Corporate Innovation at RLab

"As a first-time founder you will understand early on that planting your startup flag in the venture industry is a major test of your hustle and stamina. My advice to keep your sanity in check - set time limits on your fundraise and keep yourself accountable to your timeline. If you have pitched 20-30 investors and don't have a term sheet, it may be time to go back to the drawing board and understand what the investors aren't hearing from you or what critical feedback you might be missing out on." - Galina Ozgur, Venture Scout at Aera.vc

"Map your network. Ahead of fundraising, it's imperative to know where this money is coming from. Whether you're crowdfunding, looking for grants, or seeking equity investors, do your research to identify who you should be reaching out to ahead of time. Crowdfunding will be your own network, grants typically have a specific need state for the entrepreneur and or business sector, and investors have specific investment theses." - Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO of iFundWomen

"Investors should understand what your company does 5 minutes into your pitch. Start with the basics, frame your problem/solution originally, and don’t bury compelling traction data that show both are real." - Austin Guyette, Investor at Voyager Capital

Learn more about fundraising as an early-stage startup.

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