Top 5 Takeaways from our Fundraising Masterclass
Earlier this month, MT>Ventures hosted an exclusive Fundraising Masterclass in collaboration with the Toronto-based tech incubator, the DMZ. Eashan Karnik and Nic Hill, lead at the DMZ's Startup Legal Support ("SLS”) started the session with a fundraising workshop and an interactive Q&A session. After the workshop, an in-depth fireside chat took place between Aliya Ramji, and the CEO of New Skew, Max Daviau. New Skew is a modern food and packaging company with a portfolio of espresso bars and bakeries.
Here’s a quick recap of the top 5 takeaways:
1. Familiarize. Far too often, founders are not aware of their equity situation. They don’t know what equity has been authorized or issued or the different classes and types of shares that exist. When a founder becomes more deeply familiar of how their corporation is structured, they can work with legal experts to address any problems that may exist.
2. Focus. Be clear about your objectives and focus areas as you grow and develop your business. Lack of focus will prevent you from honing into the right sources of capital and take time away from your business.
3. Be Patient. In this economic climate, fundraising will not occur overnight. It requires time and relationship building. Forge relationships before you need money. Sometimes it takes months to find the right investor. Start thinking about fundraising before you run out of runway.
4. Plan. Have a plan for the day-to-day operations while you raise money. Fundraising will create more duties and obligations, and the business' daily operations should not be neglected.
5. Consider the different sources of capital. Equity financing is but one source. Consider debt, grants, tax credits, and other derivative sources of capital. Similar to the different sources of capital, there are different types of investors. There are governments that provide grant and subsidy programs, business incubators that provide office space, banking institutions that provide loans, and pitch competitions that provide capital. As the business develops, different sources of capital will become better fits
With different methods and combinations of fundraising, remember that it's not one size fits all. What works for one business may not work for another. If fundraising is out of the picture, founders have other funding options. For example, there's basic debt, both secured and unsecured, as well as grants, and tax credits to help keep the business going and funded.
Founders should remember that they are not alone. The Canadian startup ecosystem has many founders that have gone through raising capital. Reach out to those that have come before you. And remember to ask counsel questions. Just as the founder is the expert of their business, the lawyer is the legal expert. Both can collaborate to find the best solution for the business' needs.
Legal expertise can help founders stay forward-looking when making changes to their business' capital structure. The teams at MT>Ventures and the DMZ are excited to continue collaborating and advising startups on their fundraising needs. Reach out to [email protected] to discuss further or inquire about future events.