Pittsburgh Technical Council

Venture Outbound NYC: Linking Up With Investors

Venture Outbound NYC: Linking Up With Investors

Article Published: December 15, 2014

By Jonathan Kersting, Pittsburgh Technology Council

IMG_0080Two and half days go by quickly in New York City. I’m back on the bus heading to Pittsburgh. A little bleary from round-the-clock meetings with investors and media followed by multiple networking events to kick off PA Society weekend. 

After a day of meeting national tech media that included CNBC, Fast Company, Mashable and Tech Cocktail, the meat of Venture Outbound NYC centered on back-to-back-to-back investor meetings at Rockefeller Center with some of New York’s top firms ranging from seed to institutional.

Investors included Mir Arif of Blue Cloud Ventures, Brendan Syron of Scout Ventures, Bryan Hinkle of Insight Ventures, Katie Frankel of ff Venture Capital, Jason Black of RRE Ventures and Nnamdi Okike of 645 Ventures.

There was a common theme of advice that came from all of the investors:

  • Sounds obvious, but know your market! Hinkle noted that many companies are trying to attack a large market when they can be even more successful hitting a subsection of a market.
  • Build a strong team that is both technical and passionate. Investors all said the team must have conviction and integrity. The investor is really investing in that team, not just the product.
  • Here’s a dinger: Have revenue.
  • If there is no revenue yet, clearly articulate the financial model.
  • Any relationship with an investor is like a marriage. There has to be good chemistry between the startup team and the investor team. After all, this will be a multi-year commitment. Some days will not be easy!

Each investor presented for about an hour with each startup giving its pitch to start the meeting. It was interesting to watch the pitches evolve over the afternoon.

IMG_0082 (1)Many of the startups later commented that it was an excellent exercise in further refining their pitches to specific investors.

As mentioned earlier, the investor group was quite diverse cutting across investment size and industry. For example, Insight Ventures puts Series A and B money into software companies in the tens of millions of dollars, whereas 645 Ventures is strictly into seed funding $100-$500K per deal. In fact 645’s Okike used to be at Insight Ventures and left to specifically work with seed-ready startups.

IMG_0085 (1)Each investor noted that they look for deal flow wherever it is happening and Pittsburgh is on their radar.

“We’re scrappy,” said Insight’s Hinkle. “We go wherever the deals are.”

This time, Venture Outbound NYC brought some potential deals right to them. Look for more of this in 2015!

Quick note. Venture Outbound was made possible with the awesome help, resources and hard work of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and Rustbuilt. Great partners make great stuff happen.



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