Is 2015 the year you raise capital for your venture? 7 tips and tricks

Do you require capital to grow your business? If you are working on a scalable business, and think investors should consider backing your venture, VC4Africa is the place for you.

See for example the companies that together raised more than USD 27 million over the course of 2014. Our advice? Don’t wait and start early. Fundraising takes time. Much more time than most entrepreneurs might expect. Get ahead of the curve by building a network of trusted business contacts today. Create visibility for your company with a venture profile on VC4Africa and document the progress you are making as a team. In this way you allow prospective partners to follow your journey, to see how you are progressing over time, and so they can engage your company when the time is right.

Already have a venture profile registered with VC4Africa? Here are 7 tips for launching your fundraising campaign:

1) First Impressions Count – Spend the time to present a compelling story. Make sure your pitch is professional, clear and to the point. Make it easy for investors to understand your business and the size of the market opportunity. Add your team members and advisors to your team tab to show you are not working on this company on your own. Complete the quick scan and upload documents so members can find out more about your business. The more professional and complete your profile the better impression you make.

2) Update Progress – Investors want to follow your progress. Make sure you keep your venture profile up to date and share your latest developments i.e. you hired someone new, you just closed a new deal, your venture was presented at a conference, or your story was picked up for an article. The more activity you show, the greater your visibility, the greater the likelihood the right people will notice your work. The trick is to make sure they are curious enough to try and find out more about the company you are building. VC4Africa is always looking to spotlight teams on the move so let’s get the word out.

3) Build a Following – How many people like your venture? Promote your company and encourage people to like it. When members like your venture make sure you thank them for their support and work to keep your fan base up to date on your progress. They are your ‘social proof’ and can help to get your venture noticed in its respective field. Many times fans become valuable contacts. They can act as references for your work, potentially join your advisory team, or might even consider investing themselves!

4) Engage the Community – Bottom line, if you spend time helping other members they have a reason to spend time on you. Support your colleagues, look for ways to support them, and in turn they will be there to support you. Post articles related to your business, ask questions to fellow entrepreneurs and engage when you have time. Look for a meetup in your area and network with fellow members. The more engaged you are the more visible you are. The more active you are, the more the community can see what you are about.

5) Seek Feedback – Investor want to know you are open to critical feedback and want to see that you are working hard to improve your business. As individuals learn about your company they will reach out to you with questions or to set up a call. Make sure you respond promptly and clarify any points they are raising. Make sure you keep your QuickScan up to date and maintain your documents. Show you are eager to push the company forward. You will be surprised by how many people are willing to support you along the way. But it starts with you!

6) Engage a Mentor – Do you have really difficult question or do you have to go through an unfamiliar process? Applying for the VC4Africa mentorship program could be the right solution. Register your mentor request and connect with a global network of business experts who dedicate their time and expertise free of charge. You might just score that coach you need!

7) Conduct Due Diligence – Remember, not every investor is good for your company. Speak with the local tech hub, check with your friends, or reach out to advisors to make sure the terms they are offering make sense. Ask the investor for references and talk to entrepreneurs they have supported in the past. How were they able to add value to these companies? At VC4Africa you can see who is part of the investor network and you can always reach out to our team for additional background. Please send me an e-mail: ben [at] vc4africa [dot] biz.

Starting a business is one of the hardest things you can do. We know it is not easy, but remember the VC4Africa community is here to support you. We want to see you succeed and we will do whatever we can to help you along the way. At the same time, we want to celebrate your successes and encourage you to share your stories with the community! After all, your success is our bottom line.

Also see the 5 steps to fundraising on VC4Africa and some of the success stories profiled on the VC4Africa blog. Something to add? Post it in the comments below.