Navigating Seed + Venture Capital During a Pandemic
During the most recent “The Current State” webinar, presented by BrownWinick, LWBJ and the Greater Des Moines Partnership, panelists discussed perspectives on navigating seed and venture capital during a pandemic. Chris Sackett, managing partner at BrownWinick, welcomed guests to the event, including the moderators and panelists for two panels:
JD Geneser, CPA at LWBJ — Investor Panel Moderator
- Brad Dwyer, founder, CTO at Roboflow — Entrepreneurial Moderator
Continuing Investments During the Pandemic
Ibsen says that in the last 12 months, Next Level Ventures has invested in 11 companies. Prior to that, their second busiest year was 2019 with four investments. He says there’s never been a better time to found a business or seek capital in Iowa or anywhere else. The pandemic has shown that anyone can easily connect across the country whether investor or entrepreneur. Engelmann shares how companies he’s worked with weren’t badly affected by the pandemic and that founders showed resilience throughout the situation. Ohringer says with more than 100 investments (with 90+ on AngelList), he hasn’t heard of too many companies that haven’t survived the pandemic. Leo discusses how BrownWinick has addressed legal and business questions for companies throughout the pandemic, including losing talent due to uncertainty in the market. He says most clients that weathered the crisis began to use technology to maximize the time they spent reaching out to investors within their markets.
The panel also touches on reserving capital, unique pitches and ideas, readiness of companies to take on capital, changes in the diligence process and more.
The Entrepreneur Panel begins at timestamp 57:16.
Finding Investors During the Pandemic
Ott talks about the importance of making connections early, even before you need it. It takes a long time to build those connections and go through the due diligence process. McMahon reflects on when the pandemic first started and how they focused on delaying expenses until at least the summer. He says for them it’s always taken at least six months from an initial conversation until the funding closes, but the process is dependent on what investors you’re. Niemann says managing the pipeline of potential investors should be done the same way you would customers, in other words founders should create a funnel, or CRM, to better follow up with them. He says providing positive updates even when not raising funds is vital. Investors want these updates, especially if you’re hitting your milestones. Fox says her strategy for raising funds relies on direct introductions.
Other topics discussed by the panel included finding mentors who have been both investors and founders, the value of investors and how to utilize investors to get value beyond cash, finding active investors with needed skillsets and being able to acknowledge what you don’t know.
Watch the entire webinar below:
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Greater Des Moines Partnership
The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.