I love it when a founder shows chutzpah. Yesterday morning I moderated a panel on funding at Mason Hayes Curran and when I asked Peter Foley from Lets Get Checked where a founder finds the confidence to negotiate VC funding, he responded: you just have to back yourself.
That sentiment was echoed in a couple of Alan Merriman from Elkstone’s responses too: when asked what he looks for in a CEO, he said he was more interested in founders. When asked about business plans he said he was more focused on authenticity and passion. When asked at what stage a company should seek VC funding he said as late as possible.
Those of us who spend our days knee deep in startup land may hear what sounds like clichés here, but aren’t they clichés for a reason?
One recurring theme in the discussion yesterday morning was how raising capital is a two-way street. You, the founder, need to do your homework and identify the VCs or angels that will bring the money and added value you’re looking for to the table. Fundraising is about being confident and discerning, not about feeling lucky that someone else - anyone else - sees the diamond in the rough that is you and your business. I’ve tried that approach myself before. It’s sad and it doesn’t work.
Peter spoke with such assurance yesterday that the rest of us couldn’t help but poke just a little bit of fun at him. We’re Irish and that’s what we do. If anything it underscored his great message.
Speaking of being Irish, another theme of the discussion was how Irish startups need to be able to walk into a boardroom anywhere in the world and be regarded as innovators. Travel and you’ll know that Ireland’s image abroad hasn’t changed much in years. The game we’re playing to update perceptions has got to be a long one.
For Peter, that game means remaining an Ireland registered company even when deep pockets from abroad suggest other jurisdictions. For ecosystem supporters like TechIreland, it means doing what we can to make sure that being Irish is the smartest move for any company.
Hot off the press - Leonora O’ Brien’s company Pharmapod just raised $3M CAD. Thanks for knocking a couple more million off our €100M target for the year Leonora, and well done to you and the team!
Published: May 3, 2018