Don’t let them see you squirm.

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We all know the feeling: you’re pitching to an investor, and it’s going superbly — and all of a sudden you get asked an unexpected question you’re unprepared for. Your hands clam up, heart races, and you stutter through a half-assed answer.

It’s a natural response — and an entirely avoidable one.

As you get further into discussions with an investor, they will want to know more about the people they are investing in. Not just your education, experience, or how many companies you’ve built — they want to understand what makes you and your team tick. …


Founder Sanity

And why seeing the big picture is the most important.

Work harder sign
Work harder sign

For the third Saturday evening in a row, I lifted my eyes from my computer screen as I saw the last of the sunset outside my office window. I could have been watching that very sunset over a cold glass of wine with my friends like I used to.

But as my mind began to dream, the crippling anxiety and guilt over the thought of spending valuable time on something other than my startup was too consuming. I had people depending on me, my reputation to uphold, and a dwindling bank account balance.

So back to my computer I went…


Capital Raising 101

It pays to have high standards.

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A few years ago, a friend of mine met an investor who she was introduced to by a former colleague. The guy seemed great — smart, had built several impressive companies and promised her the world as a future investor.

About a month later, she discovered that his entire operation was a sham. His companies were misrepresenting their operations, had conducted multiple fraudulent deals, and investors’ money was being spent on lavish parties and holidays.

There had been a few red flags which prevented her from progressing further with their conversations anyways but imagine the consequences if she had taken…


Capital Raising 101

You don’t need huge investor networks to raise venture capital.

Cold emailing venture capital investors
Cold emailing venture capital investors

“Raising venture capital is the easiest thing a startup founder is ever going to do.”
- Marc Andreessen

I make a living from building relationships with investors. My job for the last three years has been to understand what investors are looking for and connect them with opportunities they can invest in. But that’s my full-time job — not everyone has hours on end to get five coffees a day with strangers while simultaneously building the next Unicorn.

So, how are you supposed to raise capital if you don’t have the existing networks, or the time to build them?

Most…


Capital Raising 101

Expect the best, plan for the worst.

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There are many misconceptions out there about raising capital — one of the most prominent being the length of time it takes to complete a round. It is very often underestimated and therefore miscalculated in terms of resources, commitment, and runway. Unfortunately, it’s never quite as easy as going to market and landing the first investor you have coffee with.

The capital-raising process typically takes much longer than anticipated, so entrepreneurs need to plan for that — then you will only be pleasantly surprised if it goes any other way. …


No one wants to imagine their startup ceasing to exist — this is the last thing an entrepreneur wants to focus on in order to succeed. Still, a surprising 70% of startups fail within two years of their first financing round. Whether they have raised $500k, $5m or $500m, there is not one magic reason they die — all we can do is learn from their mistakes and attempt not to fall into the same chasm. We explore some of the most common causes of death below.

Not solving a large enough problem

By far the largest startup-killer is no market need. Too many startups are…


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Valuation is one of the most essential elements to successfully raising capital from professional investors. While determining a business valuation is never straightforward, it’s significantly more challenging for early-stage ventures operating in nascent markets often with few customers and little revenue to provide a guide of likely future performance. How then is it possible to determine a valuation that is acceptable to both founders and investors?

First let’s consider the business valuation techniques employed by most financial analysts including Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), EBITDA (net earnings) or Revenue Multiple methods. …


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Over the last several years, there has been a growing trend in New Zealand to increase academic and research funding by universities themselves taking on venture capital to help develop new commercialization paths for their staff and students.

Commercialization is the process whereby universities encourage their ongoing research programs to take root and blossom into successful startups. These startups have typically developed cutting-edge technologies, as universities possess a major competitive advantage by having some of the best talent pools in the world when it comes to creating the latest scientific research.

The New Zealand Government has long-understood the value of…


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Having worked in Australia for four years, I got to appreciate how well the venture capital sector has thrived there. Many start-ups don’t have to look far for capital — they just tap into one of the accelerator or incubator programs throughout the country and are instantly in touch with some of the country’s most connected investors and partners.

When I moved to New Zealand, I assumed it would be the same. However, I came across founder after founder telling me how difficult it was to raise capital from professional investors in their early stage space. Why is this?

NZ…

Elizabeth van Rooyen

Facilitating growth capital to amazing technologists down under. 📍Australia & New Zealand. Try diligr.io to find your next investors.

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