Financing Your Startup: Use the Power of the Crowd

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Financing a startup is quite a hard job. Especially in Switzerland, where there is less and less money from Venture Capital firms flowing into web and mobile startups these last few years. It’s quite contradictory, as there is a ton of money in Switzerland. Thanks to crowd-funding, many people can now also invest in new projects and startups. On November 19th at 18:00, I’m organizing an event named “Financing your startup: use the power of the crowd” in Biel/Bienne. It will take place at the local technology park INNOCAMPUS (it’s 5min walk from train station!). We will have two speakers presenting 2 aspects of the crowd-funding: Julien Pache: Managing Director of the participative investment platform investiere.ch; Marie-Sophie Pocha: responsible of crowd-funding and special project at startup company Dacuda, (which raised 10 times the targeted amount of CHF 50k earlier this …

The magical word to raise money

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Doing a startup is quite hard. And growing it is harder. And raising funds probably even harder! You may have heard that there are investors out there who write a check to cool founders with « just » a great idea. It’s time to get back to reality. Don’t dream, it doesn’t happen like this in the real world. Or it is extremely rare. It may have been possible some years ago (I’ve never seen it myself), but I think it is not possible anymore. Or at least in Switzerland. This belief is unfortunately wide spread among wannabe founders. I think it has to be corrected. In 2014, it has never been easier to “do a startup” (in the web or mobile space), technically speaking. There are so many resources and open libraries you can use to build functional prototypes! Therefore, having …

Accelerate your startup with… Disney!

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Some weeks ago, I attended an interesting information event in London. The famous film studio company Disney partnered with the also famous accelerator TechStars to launch a dedicated Disneyaccelerator program . Goal of the initiative is to gather 10 startups during 15 weeks and let them access to the whole creative expertise and resources (you can use legally all the wide amount of content under copyright) of The Walt Disney Company. And an impressive number of mentors from the company. Alongside the “normal” (but not less amazing) mentors from Techstars, like Brad Feld or Mark Suster, just to name a few… Only that! The deal is the following, if you’re among the 10 lucky winners: you get $120k investments (standard Techstars’ deal: $20k for 6% equity, $100k as a convertible loan); you get access to a wide range of mentors and …

What is a Business Angel and where to find them (Part II)

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Before Christmas, I’ve presented what are business angels, their motivations and how to evaluate them as an entrepreneur (give it a read if you haven’t seen it!). After better understanding this type of investors, the second step is… to find them! First, you need to realize that finding business angels is not that easy. Or at least independent business angels. However, with online tools like Linkedin, you can now find angels more easily. Why? Because people are no more shy to claim they are investing in companies. Of course, if you say openly you’re an investor, you will have more people contacting you to convince you to invest in their company. But as everything today, investing is not just about money. Entrepreneurs do want smart money: money from smart guys who can help them grow the business (or from which …

What is a Business Angel and where to find them (Part I)

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Startups need money. Except if you can be your own investor for the first phase (I don’t know many such entrepreneurs in Switzerland – but that will come with future exits) in a significant way, you’ll probably need an external financial kick to get out of the ground. I’ve recently written on the first sources of financing for a startup (Why taking money from your family and friends is a bad idea) and I’ll present here another segment of investors active in the startup world: business angel (or also called angel investor or simply angel). But what is a business angel? The term is often over used or over dreamt. An angel is a wealthy individual investing in innovative companies (often tech companies) with an exponential growth potential. In comparison to institutional investors, angel invest their own money in startups that they have …

Why taking money from your family or your friends is a bad idea

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A lot of people have ideas to do a startup. 99% of people stay wannabe entrepreneurs and never make the step to dive into real startup’s life. It’s quite understandable, as starting up requires some sacrifices, both financially and on your free time (what is this, again?). Recurring revenues (your salary) are something you just can dream about after starting. And you basically have almost no more free time. I’m not saying you’re constantly ON, but you’re never completely OFF (the best ideas come when you’re doing something else, like having a shower!). If you want to launch a tech startup company, you need money. Everyone telling you the contrary is a liar (or simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about)! The first financial investment in your company is almost always coming from your own pockets, and that’s perfectly right. …

NOAH Conference – THE internet conference in Europe?

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There are a lot of startup conferences happening. From Next Berlin to Web Summit, from LeWeb to Pioneers Festival, you could spend almost all of your time at conferences. How do select the ones to attend as an entrepreneur? It’s hard, really hard. And I’d argue that if you’re an entrepreneur who want to make real business, you’d better go to conferences related to your industry, where you can find customers. But you still have to attend startup conferences to meet potential investors and partners. Most events are open to anyone, but a few are invitation-only, like DLD Conference and NOAH Conference. I’ve attended the former earlier this year (which was pretty good) and NOAH Conference is happening next week in London (13-14th of November). Having a look on the program and the list of attendees, it really seems to …

Meet 8 promising startups from Switzerland!

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Swiss startup scene is lively, even if you don’t read a lot on international blogs. Maybe because a lot of startups bootstrap a long way before possibly raising a ton of cash (you know, that’s often what interest big startup blogs – a financing round is often seen as a success, but I’d argue that’s only an often necessary milestone to grow faster and which may lead to success). But the point is that there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there building interesting tech startups. On November 4th, 8 of them will have an opportunity to present their concept! I’m organizing the 2nd ICT Investors Day in Western Switzerland, at  Chambre Vaudoise de Commerce et d’Industrie in Lausanne, at 17:00. After a presentation of the innovation promotion agency Innovaud, the following 8 startups (which were selected by our jury among 23 applying startups) will …