Why starting entrepreneurs should consider crafting a fundraising strategy as early as possible
anaging Director of Corporate Venture Capital at Digital Ventures, Paul Ark (Polapat Arkkrapridi) says one of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when looking for investment is not planning enough when it comes to fundraising.
Repackaged by Diana Figueroa
The success of fundraising, he says, “happens even before you send out the first email or make the first call with a potential investor.”
Digital Ventures is a subsidiary of the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), one of the oldest and largest banks in Thailand. One of the components of the bank is the corporate VC fund, which focuses on startups in the banking and financial industry, which Paul manages.
The Thailand-based $100 million fund is renowned for investing globally. To date, Digital Ventures has backed Israeli fintech startup Pagaya, Singapore-based geolocation data firm Pulse iD, and Canadian quantum-computing software platform 1QBit, to name a few.
Having spent time leading workshops and seminars for entrepreneurs in Thailand, Paul has perfected identifying the best ways to approach the right investors. In the early stages of starting up, founders are often so focused on developing a product and setting up their business that they tend to overlook the necessary task of crafting a fundraising strategy.
You shouldn’t just take money from the first five people that want to invest in your startup
Connecting with the right investors comes after performing a “really good self-assessment to gain a deep understanding of the sector, market, geography and company stage you’re working in,” Paul says.
The next step then requires knowing your potential investors before outreaching to them. For Paul, it’s not about spamming every potential prospect via LinkedIn. Though it’s easy to send out tons of impersonal emails to get yourself out there, it’s about knowing the industries, types of technology and stages they focus on, which is crucial in figuring out what investors are looking for in your business as a right fit. He believes a better option is to select a couple dozen VCs you think would be a good fit for your startup and reach out to them thoughtfully.
Paul also advises entrepreneurs to think ahead and imagine whom their dream team of investors would consist of. “You shouldn’t just take money from the first five people that want to invest in your startup; it’s important to think about which investors would be able to complement your strengths and weaknesses.”
Weighing between the right investors can thus, offer the skills and access to networks and board members that is key in getting your startup to the next level. “It’s never too early to start talking to investors and getting to know them.”
Main photo: Paul Ark by Startup Guide Bangkok
All photos: Startup Guide Bangkok