Week 9 came and went too fast. We only had one formal (double) masterclass this week, but by a unanimous accelerator class vote, it was undeniably “one of the best so far”. Here’s our lawn mowing startup’s week 9 recap:
UK Trade & Investment’s James Bond Pre-Screening
Aaron, plus all of our accelerator program guys, got to live their internal Bond this week when we were treated to a New Farm Cinemas pre-screening of the much-awaited James Bond movie, Spectre. This great evening was topped off by the announcement that UK Trade and Investment are working with the River City Labs accelerator program to potentially sponsor our startup teams on a visit to the UK in 2016. Awesome!
Nick McNaughton – Raising Money Masterclass
Once endorsed by Steve Baxter as “the best masterclass we’ve ever had in the Labs”, Nick McNaughton from ANU Connect Ventures was invited back from his home in Canberra to run his “best ever” masterclasses with our accelerator teams (GreenSocks, Puntaa, Outbound, ProcessPA and ParkFit).
The first of those, was focussed on raising investor money. And for anyone who was curious about Nick’s credentials, he put those kind of questions to bed early with his quick “Wow!” list…
A selection of just some of Nick’s snippets of wisdom from our sessions:
- This is not a game. There are consequences of getting things wrong on term sheets and in negotiations.
- You will very likely end up with different people in your startup than those you started with. That’s why legals are it’s critically important to document everything.
- Post-money includes the valuation. Don’t get it confused with pre-money.
- When you are interviewing for investors, ask three essential questions:
- Can you talk me through the last three deals you did?
- When did you do your last deal?
- What’s your typical in? (eg. $25k, $50k, $100k, $250k)
- The less investors you can get for the money that you need, the better.
- Tag Along = Minority shareholder insisting on their rights of being included
- Drag Along = Minority shareholder is made to follow suit with the other shareholders
- An odd number of board members is better, so there is always a majority to make a decision.
- If you cannot get agree on board members, consider taking an independent member, agreed by all parties.
- Never try to “wing” negotiations. Prepare and be methodical.
- Always have a lead negotiator who is authorised to make decisions without interjections.
- You do not need to agree in the first meeting. Listen, learn, retreat and strategise.
- Are you the right person to lead the negotiations or should you bring in someone?
- Never reveal your runway. Say “we have adequate financing and we’re determined to bootstrap”, otherwise you immediately put investors in the power position, because they know when you’ll be desperate.
- The best way to get free money is via government grants – so do your research and apply.
- Always try to tap into Commercialisation Australia‘s assistance.
- If you’re in Canberra, tap into the Innovation Connect program for financial assistance.
- Claim your R&D tax credits.
- Going overseas? Check out the Export Market Development Grants.
- IPOs make sense when you have a massive opportunity and it’s a 10+ year path ahead.
- Golden rule: Never talk about any of your other startup ideas when talking to an investor about your current idea. You must be 100% focussed on your current idea. Otherwise, why should they invest in you?
- Interesting insight: Atlassian might be a darling in the Australian startup scene, but did you know that when Vocus(one of Nick’s investments) and M2 complete their merge in early 2016, the company will make more profit than Atlassian does revenue?
- “Investing is like surfing. There are waves every few minutes. But remember, investors are looking for the biggest wave to get them to the beach.” Nick McNaughton
Nick McNaughton – Term Sheet Negotiation Workshop
The second part of our day with Nick was an excellent, interactive workshop on term sheet negotiation. Once we were split into two teams, Nick watched our teams go back and forth to the negotiating table for hours, until the teams could finally agree on investment terms.
So who was the best negotiator? Difficult to judge. The Outbound boys Mark and Ryan were both pretty powerful at the table. Puntaa’s Nick and ProcessPA’s Matt were good at holding their ground. Richard from GreenSocks tried to inject some friendly cross-table vibes. And Puntaa’s Jordan Oudejans turns out to be the guy that you send it at the end to do what it takes to “just get this thing finished”.
Richard’s ideas land on the home page of The Courier Mail
Literally! Richard’s images of Star Wars icons landing on Brisbane landmarks became such a hit on Reddit, that The Courier Mail phoned him for an interview (sorry Nick, that’s why Richard was on a long phone call that day) and that afternoon his ideas were on the home page of TheCourierMail.com.au! Here’s proof:
Matt Rowan stepped away from hustling sales for his P&C software, to meet Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at an Advance Queensland Innovation and Investment Reception.
You know you’re only taller than her because of your hair, don’t you Matt?
Startup Weekend Gold Coast
GreenSocks’ very own Richard Eastes joined our accelerator facilitator Aaron Birkby to spend the weekend starting up (again) on the Gold Coast with a bunch of Gold Coast locals and a tonne of good ideas. Aaron was one of the organisers and Richard one of the participants. Aaron looked considerably more exhausted on Monday than Richard. Not sure if that’s because Aaron worked harder over the weekend or if Richard’s just in better shape…?
The Puntaa Sprint Challenge
And just in case you were wondering who won this weeks’ Puntaa challenge…
Here’s your answer:
100m sprint challenge last 50m! Catfish beating the spider!Coach lumping too much weight,freshman kidding himself! pic.twitter.com/OnLFQ0YU3J
— Puntaa (@puntaapp) November 17, 2015
And, that’s a wrap!
Thanks Everyone for your support and enjoy your week!
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