Venture capitalists are among the best advisors for startups to gain funding - Romans

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Dec 05, 2013 02:04 AM EST

At a roundabout panel held at a book event, Georgetown Angels general partner Andrew Romans said a startup's success depends on the type of network it has. Romans, who is author of the book "The Entrepreneurial Bible to Venture Capital: Inside Secrets from Leaders in the Startup Game," also said startups need to establish strategic relationships with venture capitalists, angels, chief executives and attorneys.

Romans added, "The network around your company is your company's best asset." Romans also said that advisors of startups should have the knowhow on cash and equity and love the startups that they are willing to open doors for them.

Aside from Romans, members of the panel were Austin Ventures' Pat Noonan and Krishna Srinivasan of LiveOak Venture Partners.

Romans also pointed out that having a right idea is not enough for a startup to get a meeting with potential investors. "You've got to make sure you know your numbers. If someone asks what's your revenue and you stutter on that one, that's a no-no. You've been there since the beginning you should know...if you don't know what pre-money valuation is and you're going to run into trouble it's the advisor's job to get you out of the meeting before that happens."

Srinivasan, on the other hand, said there are other venture capital firms whose approach to startups are more of a social service. He said, "We're delighted to receive emails and are trying to be as helpful as possible and as responsive as possible. It feels like part of giving back to the market to raise institutional money.... We're looking for smart guys who are hard working who want to work with us.... Other people who have these giant maps are looking for something specific-Bitcoin meets gaming segments-we're looking for something with recurring revenues and high growth segments, motherhood and apple pie stuff."

Noonan also stressed the difficulty of backing the right startup. "It's hard to pin down the exact magical formula. Every investor will target a different thing: ‘We invest in markets; we invest in people.' You can make a mediocre idea truly exceptional with the best execution. All the time we get questions like ‘I've got an app, how many downloads do I need and how many active users? If you're not growing 10 percent week over week, you're doing something wrong. You need some kind of stickiness or growth. If on the enterprise side, you need customers to validate you... A lot of it comes down to gut feel."

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