Cryptocurrency and Blockchain in Business. How To Find Investors? Startups Tips
In this interview we're going to cover various topics startups, bitcoins, different kinds of incentives available on the market, especially in Dubai. Interview hosted by Olga Fleming
We'll meet a Damu Winston, who will tell you about tips how to present a startup, how to pitch and what are the core mistakes startups do at the market.
Before we start interview, we are going to share few things that you always can fix with your startup. How you can improve your pitching. How you can improve your projects. And, basically, how you can implement all the strategies that people share with you. Startups when pitching, they do numerous mistakes. Starting from the business plan, they do not talk about anything that is necessary.
They're just trying to present very classic 15 slides presentation and it doesn't work out for them. Everyone hopes for startups to bring results immediately. There are quite few things that startups actually do wrong. Let's say, first thing is when you're trying to pitch any type of investor, including Venture Capital company. Trying to approach just anyone is not the strategy that is really not going to work. The reason is there are different stages of investing: seed cap, A series, B series, C, and etc.
And there're different amounts of investment that can be invested in a business by various investors on different stages. And the problem is that startups are trying just approach just anyone, any VC company, any industry with your project. They don't even know in which series actually investor does investor nor which projects they do invest. So, basically, there're a lot of things that actually startups do wrong when trying to approach investors.
Accelerators and Investors are Oriented to Specific Niche
Accelerators and investors usually are oriented to specific niche and they don’t deal with just any startup. So, if you want to really raise funds, follow the tips and follow the things that we share in this interview. Hopefully it will bring you great results.
This interview will be super useful to everyone who wants to implement blockchain in business and startups raising funds.
Damu was asked to introduce himself by the interviewer
- My name is Damu Winston. I'm the author of the "I don't trust you". The blockchain and bitcoin help. This is the book here. And I'm also a serial entrepreneur and investor in the region. Primarily focus on the aviation space with interlock which is. Apart called area 2071 which is a minotaur, which is Dubai attendant year strategy of innovation. Some of startup bootcamp, more of the bench with their can, some other startups initiatives in the region. So, I highly involved and connected to that space.
Order a book on www.amazon.com
Interviewer Olga Fleming:
- What are core three takeaways from the book.
- I would say the number one thing is the future is here. We're already in the future and I truly believe that one of the biggest things that blockchain lights us is we call infrastructure of trust and so as I talked about it in the book, you know, infrastructure technology is commonly things that we don't talk about, right? We like the example. I'm giving in the book, for example, is have you ever made a phone call for whatever. What about a Skype call? What about SMS or blackberry, or tweet? Of course, but do you have any idea how any of that technology works? At all, all right. And so, what if I told you that you know, the technology that underpins all these stuff was blockchain. Would you believe it? Would you even know, right? I'm making right and so, that's kind of blockchain is this infrastructure technology that enables you the ability for some things like to transfer value, like cryptocurrency or to store medical records and transfer. or to even be kind of a tool that allows you to travel to a country, right? It's the infrastructure technology that multiple parties coming together, can trust. So, it's elimination trust on human intervention to trust in a system.
- You're a startup mentor at startup hub called INTELAK. What are three core mistakes startups do here when they're trying to enter the market?
- Yeah, you know. That's I think a really good question that I think it's beyond just INTELAK, right? For those who don't know about INTELAK its accelerator for Emirates, Danata travel, and Dubai tourism. Pretty much incubation and acceleration program initiative. And so, you know, I focus on pitching and emerging technologies obviously, right? And so, when it comes to lessons learned. I would say that you know startups have a vision. Lots of the vision is so grand and big, that they forget about how to execute today. And so I think, it's amazing, it's great idea to see that you're going to take over the world but I think it's more important to say how can I focus on the one thing. Just that one thing and execute deliver on that one thing. So, we still have the vision. The second thing I would say for every time, you need to have a sense of purpose. Why are we doing this? If you have a clear understanding or why that's going to help you get up in the morning, because when you're an entrepreneur, one of the big shouts that you face is their talent. And if you don't have a compass or a giant thing that motivates you every morning to get up and do X Y & Z, you'll feel. Because there're going to be times where you're going to be at the bottom of the bottom of the pond. You're going to think I can't get any lower, so, if you don't have that sense of purpose you'd give up. And the third thing I think that's the most important sprite just as important as first two things is a team. Finding team that believes in that idea, whatever the idea is. Having a phenomenal team over a phenomenal idea. So, my idea could be you know, amazing but the team behind it is a shit. So, if I have a crappy idea, but I have an amazing team. The team will come together and collaborate, and help make that idea so much stronger and better. It's all about team. Just like, you know, you're very fortunate that that team is doing here today. And I'm very fortunate to hopefully build a team with you, right? But let's collaborate together and I hope we can do something amazing.
Blockchain Like Infrastructure Technology in the Future
- You're presenting the art of storytelling and what is, let's say, one core mistake startups make
- They have no story. A lot of times its academic. Here's my team slide, here's my business motto slide. Here's my problem and then here's my market size, right. That doesn't create any emotional connection with anyone. And, as long as I'm human being, I want to have any emotional connection. Whereas if I'm just like a robot, people won't interact with the robot, like I give a really good example. If you can choose between the chat bot and a person chatting with you, which one would you choose today? Probably a person, right, because you are assuming the person is going to be able to kind of give you an understanding where you're coming from. Where is the vibe today. It's going to say X,Y and Z, and the responses either yes or no, right. Or very limited ability to comprehend complex ideas. And so, human being is actually appreciate, you know, stories that we can connect to you, that we can relate to whereas a pitch that is very robotic, will be very limiting and not what we want to connect with.
- Nowadays, I guess, they're trying to make those bots more smarter and it doesn't seem to be a robot from first you see and hear. And you're kind of wondering, is it a person or it's a robot.
- Obviously that's intentional. That's the future we're moving towards, that we'll not really know the difference. But I'm saying in general. If we can take the same example would you rather chat on the bot or would you rather have conversation with a real person. Some people, actually, prefer chatting with a bot, because it's eliminates the whole human factors. And that's the part of challenge that we face for society, as we shift more to just using our devices. And we're starting to lose the human factor but right now when it comes to investing, people can build a relationship with, so, they can trust. That’s today. Maybe in the future while having platforms were you know it's communication base, like you get devices and that's how you receive an investment. But today the vast majority of investments is done to the strong.
- It's not business-to-business anymore. If you're working with people, you can see all these trends in social media, everywhere. It's much more personal than before. When you're choosing a company, you what to know who is standing behind it. If you choose Tesla or Cyber Truck, you know it's Elon Musk. And you want to buy from him because you know how a great idea and vision he has.
- Totally agree. And I mean, that that's very important. Again, we currently trust the people. And I feel like most investors who often make an investment, not necessarily because of the numbers. But first, because I trust the person. And so, I work in private equity and none of these things that determine factor point if we're going to make an investment or not, isn't because business model was, was not the financial model, none of that. It was „do we believe that this entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs is going make it happen”. And I think that's what matters.
- And that's another thing that startup actually forget when they are pitching, it's about story, also, about the team. Not just saying it's John. John is a great programmer or someone else. Like story behind those people, what are they driven by and many other things.
Why are the first 5 minutes of the presentation the most important for a startup. When you're doing a pitch, don't tell me, here's a John, John is a great developer. He's for 12 years doing business and John likes XYZ. I don't care about any of that. Point out an interesting fact. For example „John who I met four years ago through saving a cat." Be remembered, not another number. And so, when you can personalize it, people like: "Oh, so, that's how you met John?" And on the way when I met this cat, for example, I saw that John was passionate about, (vision, technology) because you want to understand the eye color of cats. I don't know, I just made it up, right? That should harsh them for this particular John scenario. They like vision, technology. So I'll remember that. You will, too. I've met so many founders who say: "I don't have enough time. The pitch is only is only 10 minutes long, only 10 minutes." That's a mistake. If you're thinking it's only 10 minutes long, if you can't convince me of your idea in 3 minutes to 5 minutes, then you don't know your business well enough. You don't have a good product most likely. Talking about the details of how business operates, is a four later discussion. For pitching, is about convincing you or have want to join my movement, will be a part of what I'm doing and that should done either one minute, three minutes or five minutes. Anything more than that, would be overthinking.
- Because you're starting to talk about things that aren't really important by the moment. Someone wants to know what's your vision, the benefit of all the people, who are going to use the product. What is the benefit to the investors. So, probably some numbers put in that, some plans. You can for sure. I hear the speaker icon also can confirm.
- What I tell startups I work with, focus on what I call edutainment. That's education and entertainment, married together. That's the harmony between entrepreneurs and the investor. Entertainment. So, the entrepreneur needs to educate your investor. And also, to entertain to keep them engaged. So, if you ad sometimes and the investor wants to know a little bit about the numbers behind it. Sometimes they to do a little humor, a little laughter, they do have some sadness in it, but back to that, it's about educating them with information that they don't know, or they may already but don't have the evidence behind it. And also inspiration. So, a pitch it's a tool to get you to something else. The pitch is like if entrepreneurs make a fatal flaw when they go up there and they say I'm going to pitch with the gold at the end of this week, end of this pitch. I'm going to give you 10 million dollar investment. That's not the how it works. No one just says: "Oh, i pitched my book about this and that," and at the end it you give me 10 million dollars. If my objective is to seek funding and then is at the end of the pitch I should be trying to get a meeting with people who are interested in this type of project. Or maybe I'm looking for strategic partnership. Not the end goal. End goal happens over time. No one at the end of the pitch will give you money. I've never seen it.
And I guess one of the last questions. If you're going to give one advice to blockchain entrepreneurs. Is there any specific advice about you’d give?
- I will give them several. First it's not a technology that you use for everything. That's the first thing. The second thing is, don't be married to the idea that you have to use blockchain for this. And the reason I say this is because blockchain is a technology that requires a community to be around it. It requires a community to believe in a common truth. if there's no a common truth that the community cares about, which if there's no need watching. So, even in cryptocurrency. The reason why it's so valuable is because so many different people see value in the a common truth. If those communities didn't care what those common truth would be, it would not be valid. And so, I think those are two most important things there, the third one would be make sure you find a team that believes in the vision. And that, you know, that team is able to find strategic partners that all believe in that vision. We see a common truth, that's what it boils down to.
- So if you're just trying to do blockchain for blockchain, it doesn't work. And the last question for today is, how to sell your idea.
- The best piece of advice is rule number one — Know your audience. Rule number two — Find the connections. Find what I call an integral, which is how do I connect with that particular audience. How do I find information that it's important to take a focus people. But this person is very passionate, how do I convey a story that's very passionate and emotional charge.
I Don't Trust You: But Blockchain and Bitcoin Will Help
We call it mapping exercise. If you're talking about technology to feature what may matter to those type of stakeholders.
Interview hosted by Olga Fleming