Setting up a successful program and bringing in best-class stakeholders and investors can be a jarring process. Often, investors doing their first steps try to gain access to innovation programs to increase their dealflow, but guess what? This is not enough for both them and the startup founders of your programs. How can you tackle that? How can you build a successful program bringing in the ideal partners to invest in your teams or sponsor your program?
Just like startups, it is key to be innovative and have a deep knowledge of the ecosystem stakeholders around your industry. From day zero, you must clearly define your program’s goals. Having a well-defined investment thesis can signal your commitment and maturity of the program attracting the relevant partners on its own. For that, you must be straightforward in setting up how you want your partners to invest and propagate the return on investment you are aiming to offer them.
Another aspect to consider is the relationship you want to have with your investors. Alexandra Sarma, from Orange Grove incubator, focuses on the collaborative aspects of bringing in an investor: "We discuss with them all of the time so that they know what we are doing and they can give us the breathing space in order to innovate and experiment." Thus, once you have established a concrete set of expectations and established where you would like to make your impact, you can look for fulfilling financial partners that will trust your project and allow you to make a positive impact.
Okay, so now you have a concrete set of objectives and want to find an investor that can help your program grow, where can you find them?
A good place to start looking is in your network. Startup programs need to be able to offer a wide range of mentors, investors, and peers to learn from. Thus, if you are seeking to find financial support, or to build any kind of a successful acceleration or incubation program you must make as many connections as possible. Through virtual or physical door-to-door knocking, being involved in the local innovation ecosystem will allow your program to stand out and find the ideal partners, even if it takes some time. You have to remember you can never make too many connections! You never know how close you are to the next partner.
Your network wasn’t enough or you are just starting?
Here are two platforms you can freely use to expand your network, get to know your potential partners’ expertise and sharpen your data analysis. Crunchbase and European Startups are two platforms where you can identify and connect your next partners’, discover your industries’ insights and gain access to macro-level trends.
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