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Total 79 companies invested

Investors: More Than Just Money

For most startups, securing funding from investors is essential for getting their businesses off the ground. However, investors can offer much more than just financial support. If you're a startup founder looking to grow your business, don't overlook the additional value that the right investor brings. An involved investor who believes in your business will contribute in many ways.

In Joint Journey, we believe that the relations between founders and investors, done right, built on trust and mutual profit, last for decades. In this essay, I will share my vision of what you, as a founder, can gain from a seasoned investor, apart from financial support. This is all based on my own experience and how I interact with the startups I am passionate about.

Guiding You with Your Project

Although an investor won't delve too deeply into your project, as they have numerous portfolio companies and can't afford to dive into each one, they possess a superpower—a vast purview. You will see them offering a "fresh look" grounded in extensive expertise.

Most investors have experience running their own businesses, having evaluated hundreds of companies they invested in and thousands of companies they didn’t. Their writings-off are also valuable, they know for sure what doesn’t work. They've seen the development of businesses across different markets, both locally and globally. This experience enables to see what’s coming next, to recognize challenges you might not see yet, and identify opportunities for success that you might overlook. Sometimes, your investor has a blueprint of the solution you seek because they've encountered similar situations multiple times.

Despite you, as a founder, remaining responsible for your project's traction and success, a motivated investor may support you in every aspect of your startup, from your business and financial model, marketing and sales, to team management, and improving your business processes.

Scaling and Starting Your Board of Directors Right

Investors help to scale the business as it grows and evolves: launching products for new markets, going global, scaling your operations, growing your team, serving 10x clients, and attracting new investments.

One special case of scaling is transitioning from the single-founder management model to the Board of Directors. Once your project gains some traction, you will realize that, as a founder, you need to transit power to the Board.

And there are countless ways to get this wrong, unintentionally undermining the project's future with the potential for inefficiency, conflicts, and collisions. An experienced investor can help you in setting up your BoD, balancing power and responsibility, and turning differences into strengths.

Attracting New Rounds of Investments

Having an ally among investors who believes in your project just like you do will make it easier to secure the next round of investment. Any subsequent investors will likely ask for a reference from your initial investor, making their involvement in your project crucial.

Investors have extensive networks of contacts. They know who may be interested in your project and will give you a warm introduction to potential investors, partners, top-tier customers, or simply "the persons you definitely need to talk to." This can help you stand out among other projects.

Introducing you to new investors may take the form of deal syndication when multiple investors pool their resources to fund a single startup. An investor can advise you on how to present your project and, later, on deal terms.

When you prepare for pitching, your investors will help you hone your pitch and focus it appropriately. They might help you realize that your project isn't ready yet to be presented, pointing out areas that need improvement. With their guidance, you can do your homework and return to pitching in a few weeks with a much more compelling case for potential investors.

Legal Issues

Your business operations or scaling may suddenly stumble upon legal issues. Though your investors won't replace your lawyer, they can offer a valuable second opinion. There are common legal issues faced by early-stage companies, and the investor may have encountered them numerous times. Just to name one example, consider the pitfalls of going global with its myriad challenges of balkanized legislation.

Apart from that, investors can help you avoid overlooking something essential in your contracts with third parties, especially aspects that may not be immediately apparent but could cause problems in the long run. They can also help you protect your intellectual property from competitive infringement.

Synergy within the Portfolio

Investors have the ability to connect startups within their portfolio to create synergies and unlock new opportunities for growth and mutual benefit. By sharing knowledge and building partnerships, startups can overcome common challenges and expand their reach into new markets.

Funding Done Right

Lastly, I want to revisit the topic of funding. The act of providing funds can be done in better or worse ways. A good investor who chooses to fund you will provide resources without directly interfering in the way you run your project. The responsibility for the traction remains yours, but a supportive investor steps aside, allowing you to manage your project in your unique way.

An angel investor, unlike VC funds, also has the advantage of acting quickly once they believe in your project. A typical VC might find it challenging to fund a seed-stage startup, as it often requires a project with transparent scalability. However, as an angel investor, once I believe in your project, I won't need to coordinate my decision with a board.

So, choose your investor wisely, and you will receive help with your project that goes much deeper than just providing funds. That’s what is called smart money.