Over the course of last 4 years, I have had the opportunity to interact with 1000+ entrepreneurs in India and US via face to face meetings. In most of these meetings, one thing that remained consistent and always came up during conversations was given everything that is present in the market be it angel groups, funding platforms or numerous events/conferences fundraising is a herculean task especially for a first time entrepreneur.
There are numerous reasons why this is the case, the top 5 that I have observed over the years are as follows:
You talk to any entrepreneur who is thinking of fundraising and the investors they want to talk to, 95/100 times you will hear the 20 names that everyone wants to talk to. These 20 are super angels and entrepreneur turned angels. The whole system has been made to be perceived in a manner that apart from these 20–50 investors, there is no one available.
The moment an entrepreneur decides that they want to reach out to the limited set of investors outlined in point number one, it takes on an average 1.5 months to get to meetings with each and everyone of them. Why?
Because this is how it works: You create the list of investors you want to talk to, create a second list of people who will connect you with them, send an introduction mail, investor is traveling and blah blah. Boom, you have lost almost a week just trying to tell one investor what you have built and get a meeting.
A lot of entrepreneurs waste enormous amount of time asking for introduction and that is fair as investors like it if you come via warm introduction. There is nothing wrong in doing this, but we want to know from the entrepreneurs don’t you think it can be more efficient and streamlined?
This has been our favorite ever since starting ShotPitch, when we meet an entrepreneur one of the things that we always ask is given the space you are in, do you know 20–25 investors you should be talking to?
The answer every time is the same names as outlined in point number one. It is not an entrepreneur’s fault that they don’t know, rather it is the fault of the system that works in a closed door manner with no empowerment for entrepreneurs. We have come so far even without entrepreneurs knowing in the first place who are the right contextual investors for them? Leave apart being able to reach out directly and pitch.
Imagine this: If an entrepreneur is building a travel company, when they go for fundraise will they want to shoot in the dark and talk to random investors as is the case right now OR have a sorted list of investors from around the world who are into travel and sector agnostic and then be able to pitch to them directly?
The existing channels and ways through which entrepreneurs reach investors is more like a blackhole, for the lack of a better word. They go to angel groups, no idea who the investors are in the group and whether they are relevant/contextual. Go to platforms, create profiles and expect some magic that will start attracting the investors to their profile. Where is empowerment? Why can’t an entrepreneur discover and pitch to relevant investors directly and rely on so many independently functioning government mechanism in itself?
There have been countless occasions when we have met entrepreneurs who travel from one city to another, spending a sizable amount of money and precious time to meet a couple of investors who “might” be interested and want to see more details. Well physical meetings are a great way to take the conversation to something fruitful, but if it is only for exploring more( as it is most of the time), all of that could have been enabled by a product in a minute saving time/money for the entrepreneur.
We are not saying that the existing channels don’t have a place in the market. Everyone is solving some pain point in their own way and have a rightful place. What we do want to say is that the existing mechanism(or the lack of it) is completely inefficient when it comes to discovery and pitching directly to contextual investors.
That is why we built ShotPitch and in the last five months have validated each and everything from both sides of the table i.e startups and investors.
We would love entrepreneurs to think what makes them real entrepreneurs, is it wasting time and money going through the existing maze or is it time to be efficient and product driven?
That is why we want to ask
“Will the real entrepreneur please stand up”