Venture Capital firms have the opportunity to assist their portfolios in several ways. Firms have three primary objectives:
Venture capital firms have a vested interest in the success of a company. Having one-on-one discussions with the leaders of portfolios is a great way to evaluate not only the health of the business, but the health of the individual, too. This becomes an opportunity to check in on goals that were previously set, troubleshooting business challenges, and nurture personal relationships.
Assisting with developing benchmarks
Setting expectations and ensuring the goals of each party (VC firm and founders) are in alignment creates a clear plan and foundation for how the funding will be allocated. Each time there is a meeting centered around the business, VCs ensure there are objectives set on each sides to prevent misunderstandings in the long term. Having frequent opportunities to check in with the startup company ensure agreed upon benchmarks are met. It also allows both parties the opportunity to alignment quickly realigns if changes occur to continue a smooth process.
Help conduct business development
In the same breath of having a strong understanding of alignment, firms assist their portfolio companies in conducting efforts for business development so that companies reach their goals. Helping with quarterly sales, nurturing business relationships, and providing any support to develop business help put the company in a better place.
Creating opportunities to reach business goals
Some firms put their portfolio companies in significant positions by lifting some of the day-to-day work. Helping with portfolio positioning, conducting research, providing additional operational support, and even hosting special events are all ways VC firms oftentimes create productive activities for portfolio growth.
Assist with HR procedures
Managing staff and new hires can be daunting tasks among all the other responsibilities for new CEOs and founders. Many startups lack the resources needed to get the right talent in place to back the company’s missions and goals. Not only does it help when firms lend a hand with good sourcing employees, but firms also have a strong understanding of what the company needs, and naturally a stronger investment in finding the “right” resources make a tremendous impact on the overall business.
There is plenty of ways venture capital firms get involved and help move their portfolio companies’ businesses forward outside of writing a check. Whether it is employee sourcing or simply check-ins, providing additional support shows startups that firms are invested more than financially. Be sure to follow up on LinkedIn.
Pitching to investors can be exciting as it’s often an essential step in the successful launch of a business. When the opportunity to present your company to an investor arises, you had better be prepared! This is the time to put doubt to the side and create an exemplary story of your product or service offering, and how it will necessarily make life easier for your customers. It’s not uncommon for presentations to be too “salesy” or not have enough “meat” to the story to win investors over. We’ve crafted several do’s and don’ts to help you navigate preparing for your next big win.
Do provide clarity on why you’re in business
Easily captivate your audience by telling a compelling story. Make it clear as to why your company came to life, and make sure the story is easily digestible. This is your opportunity to focus on the problem and communicate your company’s value and how it will affect the lives of your customers.
Do make sure your technology is seamless and user-friendly
More than likely, your presentation will be in some form of technology – like a PowerPoint slide deck, or a template. Before presenting, you’ll want to make sure there are no signs of technology problems. You should also consider the possibility of investors requesting a copy of your presentation, so the display should be easy to navigate and read.
Do anticipate feedback and questions
With every excellent presentation, there are going to be questions, feedback, and comments as a follow-up. Have data readily available to support the claims made throughout your presentation. Walk through your presentation with a colleague (or three…) before the big day and ask them to come up with a list of questions that you may not have considered. Then make sure you’re thoroughly prepared to answer those and similar questions during the presentation.
Don’t ignore your competitors
This is a big no-no. Acknowledging your competition points out that there is a market for your solution. It allows you the opportunity to point out what differentiates your business. This is not the time to talk poorly about your competition; this is an opportunity to make investors aware of the market.
Don’t forget to do your research
Assuming you’ve already done this (which is why your business is in play today,) walk into the meeting knowledgeable. Understand your product, the problem you’re solving, and the history of the market. And know your numbers…from market size through financial projections you need to know your numbers cold!
Don’t be sloppy
Make absolute, 100% sure that there are no flaws in your presentation. Spelling mistakes, clear grammar errors, typos and text misalignment are inexcusable. It shows an inattention to detail and a general sloppiness (or even laziness in the case of misspellings…. spell check is a 2-minute automatic electronic exercise!). Investors are looking for reasons to disqualify you, and a sloppy investor presentation is a proxy for how much care you will take pitching customers. Or in this case, lack of care!
Incorporating these do’s and don’ts into your pitching “plan of action” will help position you for success with potential investors. Remember to emphasize the “why” and “how” your business creates value for customers, and remember to not go into full sales mode. Even though pitching investors is a sales situation, the investor is a different kind of customer and much more interested in your ability to act as a general manager and business owner than if you can merely close a deal. Focus on presenting a holistic view of the opportunity your business brings, and how it will generate an appropriate return on an investor’s capital. At the end of the day, it’s all about making money!
S4 Medical Corp, an innovative medical device company focused on protecting the esophagus from thermal damage during catheter ablation procedures, announced an oversubscribed round of funding following its successful human study.
While catheter ablation is an effective treatment for patients with atrial fibrillation, it carries the risk of esophageal injury due to the close anatomical position of the esophagus to the heart. The device being developed by S4 Medical, called ESolution, is inserted through the mouth into the esophagus and utilizes a proprietary method to deviate the esophagus away from potential thermal injury.
S4 Co-Inventor and Co-Founder Dr. Emile Daoud is the Chief of Cardiac Electrophysiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “The intent of ESolution is to provide a way to easily protect the esophagus from ablation energy and thus reduce the risk of injury to the esophagus as well as to enhance the efficacy of the ablation procedure,” Daoud said. “We have successfully used the device in numerous animal studies and completed our first in man study in 2019 with very positive results.”
“With the successful outcomes from our recent studies, we are pleased to have an oversubscribed round,” said William Fuller, co-founder and CEO of S4.“This new funding keeps us on the fast pace we have experienced to dateand will take us through new milestones proving the value of the technology.”
S4 Medical completed its first human studies in seven patients in Argentina. In each of these patients, there was successful deviation of the esophagus, which simplified and created efficiencies to the ablation procedure.Furthermore, there were no acute complications reported for any study subject. Post ablation endoscopy confirmed no injury to the esophagus of any study subject related to the ablation energy or related to use of Esolution.
It is estimated that more than 6 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation, and that number will continue to grow over the next decade and beyond. Catheter ablation procedures are increasing at more than 20% each year. “We have already begun discussions with strategic partners to bring the technology to widespread clinical usage,” Fuller said, “and intend to have a partnership established in 2020 as we continue to demonstrate the value of our technology.”
Investors include, the Ohio Innovation Fund (OIF), ProMedica, Valley Growth Fund, Jumpstart, North Coast Angel Fund, and individual angel investors.
“This is yet another groundbreaking technology coming out of The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center,” OIF Managing Director and S4 Board Member Bill Baumel said. “With S4’s leadership team, comprised of one of the top electrophysiologists in the country and a seasoned medtech executive, combined with an acute need and elegant solution, S4 is positioned to be wildly successful by protecting patients from major esophageal damage during cardiac ablation.”
More about S4 Medical Corp.
S4 Medical Corp. is a medical device company focused on innovative solutions for cardiac procedures. The company’s initial product is a simple, yet comprehensive solution for reducing complications to the esophagus during catheter ablation treatment for atrial fibrillation. S4’s team is motivated by providing advanced solutions for superior healthcare. For more information, visit S4 on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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