To kickstart 2019, Virtual Force held an event on the 16th of January which focused primarily on managing and scaling your startup. It also touched on the ideas of managing your own founder persona and your startup. The insights were shared by four speakers including Tanzeel Ur Rehman, Waleed Nasir, Brett Newman, and Joe McCann. Using their experiences and knowledge, they discussed how to go about making your startup convincing enough for investors. The 3-hour evening event was held at ThoughtWorks NYC in collaboration with Muslim Urban Professionals (Muppies) NYC. It was attended by budding entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and business professionals.
Here’s an overview of what was shared by the speakers:
Tanzeel Ur Rehman – Co-Founder and COO at Virtual Force
Tanzeel Ur Rehman emphasized the need to have a proper founder mentality instilled in every action and step taken by early-stage entrepreneurs.
He mentioned that despite there being many instances of entrepreneurs winning investment by a mere presentation, for first-timers, it is crucial to the required legwork before interacting with investors. “Investors typically invest in founders,” he said, emphasizing that new entrepreneurs should always showcase to investors a product that has a viable number of consumers, and, has and adds value to customers’ lives.
Furthering on Brett Newman’s ‘buttons’ strategy (mentioned ahead), he shared how his co-founded startup identified a proper HR team to handle the inflow of new additions to Virtual Force instead of doing everything themselves. He advised that one should identify the right people for a certain job, filter and select them, and then trust them with it.
Waleed Nasir – Head of Product Development at Virtual Force
Mr. Nasir told the attendees that there is no set rule for gauging when it is the ideal time to approach investors. He shared stories of entrepreneurs who were able to win capital for their startups by being confident in their half-baked product and simple presentations. In his experience, a full-blown product isn’t a prerequisite to connecting with investors. However, Tanzeel Ur Rehman added that this rule plays well mostly for entrepreneurs that have already successfully launched or sold a startup; individuals who have earned the trust of investors through previous achievements.
Brett Newman – Founder and COO at Study Abroad Apartments
The man behind Study Abroad Apartments, Brett Newman, talked about he believes that every entrepreneur should have a team of ‘buttons’ ready for any and all crisis. He told the audience to stay humble and accept that one cannot do everything on all fronts. Which is why, he advocates having a team of professionals for everything, from finance to legal, and from tech to design. He mentioned how he collaborated with Virtual Force as his technology partners for his startup, and how VF became a ‘button’ to resolve issues regarding the technology aspect of Study Abroad Apartments.
With this real-life personal and successful example, he encouraged young entrepreneurs to establish a bunch of ‘buttons’ for themselves. Anytime they don’t know the answer, they can push a ‘button’ and keep moving forward. By drawing a line for themselves, they will know where their efforts end and where they need help.
Joe McCann – Co-Founder of SlingshotInsights.com
Speaking about initial fundraising, Joe McCann proposed a two-point agenda. First, talking to people who understand the business you’re about to step into as it is critical to have the insight of the market that they have. Second, be the right person for the company you just started. Don’t get distracted from your goals, and do what needs to be done.
Talking from his experience and struggles of how he created SlingshotInsights.com with help from VF, he warned entrepreneurs to not waste their time and money on an imaginary checkpoint which they themselves have no validation of. He spoke about how most first-timers exhaust their initial investment on aspects that can be taken care of in later stages; such as branding, design aspects, etc.
Virtual Force believes in empowering startups and ensuring that they get the required traction to rise as a successful business. With many entrepreneurs trusting us with their ideas, we have created a vast portfolio spanning diversified technologies in a wide range of industries including fintech, health tech, education tech, IoT, AI, and more.
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