Can you put yourself in the shoes of an investor?


During our first Make a Wave incubator Bootcamp in 2014, we played “The Dragon’s Apprentice Den"!  Here’s how it works - and here’s what we learned.

How it works.

The group of participants divide in two groups. One one side: the investors. On the other side: the entrepreneurs. 

1st part

The investors co-design questions they want answers to. The entrepreneurs listen to each other’s pitches and decide on one person’s venture to put forward. The designated “founder” explains her idea and others ask questions to understand as much as they can about the business and become part of her support team.

2nd part

The entrepreneurs pitch. The investors ask their questions. The entrepreneurs provide answers to support their “founder”.

The participants learned how to:

  • Put yourself in the shoes of a potential social investor
  • Understanding someone’s business to be able to help them as much as you can
  • Articulate what your business is about in a limited amount of time, show passion, but also discipline and enough evidence, numbers, details to be able to give a realistic picture of what your business is about.
  • Go from Vision and Purpose (Why), Principles (How), to Products (What)
  • Answer questions when, for instance, you are just starting up and haven’t got traction yet. (How can your team help you provide this traction? How can you use existing research and evidence in your business case?)
  • How to you demonstrate impact as a start up (use co-founders track record, use academic research, use other businesses track record as evidence)

Further thoughts that the exercise provoked:

  • Vision without evidence is not enough
  • Passion without discipline is not enough
  • You  need to bring the business case, (find a niche and simply what you want to deliver specifically instead of willing to change the world… tomorrow!!)
  • Having critical friends is so useful
  • Articulating your ideas out loud helps shape your pitch
  • Your business is not who you are and you are not the sum of your business. But who is who?
  • The exercise helps me think about the way I need to show results.
  • We realised we needed to put ourselves in front of the right investors. Not all investors are relevant, and our products wouldn’t be all relevant to what they want to support or invest money in.
  • Knowing how to “recruit” your angel, or your investor, is necessary, as it is a two-way process.
  • Angels will ask: “What do you want? Just money? Or relationships, expertise, access to networks, access to market?”

We also learned tha tinvestors can get excited by your passion too. They have feelings and emotions that help them make a judgment beyond just a track record, order sheets or promises of sales. Useful to remember!

  • Have hope
  • Just do it
  • Trust yourself
  • Be prepared, do your homework
  • Know your figures!!!

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