Rejection isn’t the end of the road for a startup: VCs offer funding advice to entrepreneurs


At Elevate 2018, panel members offer tips to entrepreneurs seeking funding: show traction, look for revelant investors, keep pitch short and clear.

The most challenging task for every entrepreneur building a startup is access to capital; it can be the make-or-break element in the startup’s journey.

A panel discussion on Tuesday on “How to raise investment for your startup” offered key inputs to young entrepreneurs on how to make the right pitch to venture capitalists. The discussion was a part of Elevate 2018, the startup programme organised by the Karnataka Government in Bengaluru.

Shanti Mohan, Co-founder and CEO of online funding platform LetsVenture, said, “Entrepreneurs need to make a mark in terms of understanding the market and have some real business on hand.”

According to her, it is not always easy for an entrepreneur to raise capital, but one needs to “go through the grind to have that valuable experience”.

VCs on the panel were unanimous that startups needed to show some traction in terms of revenue for funding opportunities.

Kushal Agrawal, Partner and CFO, Aspada Investment Advisors, said, “We look at startups with the potential to scale and also those with high quality management.”

Startups also need to have the backing of other members of the ecosystem. Samir Kumar, MD, Inventus (India) Advisors, said, “Besides building a team, startups also need to have a board of advisors to have that traction in the market.”

Samir said it is always tough for startups to raise capital from VCs, but added that entrepreneurs should not feel disheartened. “Rejection from a VC is not the end of the road for a startup,” he said.

Shanti agreed, adding that “fund raising is a science and not an art”. She explained that startups must scout for relevant investors as there are scores in the market. She added that entrepreneurs are often slightly lax in their due diligence of pitches – this could affect their fund raising. The way out? The VCs suggested that startups should not make lengthy pitches to investors; pitches should be short, clear, and to the point.