7 Expert Tips for Startups from an Irish Venture Capitalist

"If you want advice, ask for money and if you want money, ask for advice."

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Startup

According to a recent report from NimbleFins, Ireland ranked #3 in Europe as the best country for startups, but the lowest at #12 for access to Venture Capital.

At Talent Garden, we want to give our members and the startup community the chance to easily access expert advice and support from experienced VCs, which is why we created Ireland’s first ever Venture Capitalist in Residence Programme. This programme is brought to life through workshops, fireside chats, advisory sessions and panel debates where attendees can gain valuable insights from top VCs from around the world.

At the beginning of the year, we kicked off proceedings with a Fireside Chat with Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Angel Investor, Brian Caulfield, who shared his global insights and expertise on what makes a good VC investment and the unique relationship of a VC and their investor companies.

Ahead of our next Fireside Chat on June 13th with Kevin Neary, co-founder and former Managing Director of the GameStop Group, we’re sharing Brian’s top tips for entrepreneurs looking for VC funding, to give attendees a taste of what they can expect from the programme and upcoming events.

 

Brian Caulfield’s Top Tips

1. Traits of a successful entrepreneur:

  • Ability to think differently about a market
  • Integrity
  • Self awareness

2. A founder’s integrity and authenticity is what helps to attract amazing people and resources, whether its great team members or great customers.

3. It is vital for an entrepreneur to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses – if a founder is unable to see his or her flaws early on, it will mean trouble for the company in the future.

4. The best way to approach an investor is with a light touch. Simply ask for their insights over a coffee, instead of jumping straight to talking money – “If you want advice, ask for money and if you want money, ask for advice.”

5. Make sure to have a clear image of the problem you are trying to solve, before bringing on a VC.

6. An elevator pitch must be a ‘thing of beauty.’ Ultimately, it comes down to being able to succinctly capture the gist of your business in 15 seconds or less, and to focus on selling the problem – communicating the size of it, and the value proposition you have to address it.

7. Expect VCs to also add value in the form of acumen around fundraising, strategy, and hiring great talent – not necessarily a direct increase in sales.

 

Don’t miss the next VC in R Fireside Chat with Kevin Neary, co-founder and former Managing Director of the GameStop Group. Kevin led GameStop Ireland and UK from start up in 1994 to its market leading position as the largest video game retailer within Ireland in 2011, with a peak market valuation of €100m and its sale to GameStop Corp, a NYSE quoted and Fortune 300 company.

The Fireside Chat takes place in Talent Garden Dublin on June 13th at 5pm and you can register for free here.