It’s all about the money. Or is it? When it comes to launching a successful startup, getting adequate funding is certainly one of the main hurdles that most entrepreneurs face. But with new startups launching by the minute, it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure the money that is needed to successfully market, launch and sustain a healthy startup. Investors seem to hold the key to accessing funding, and getting advice directly from their perspective is a rare opportunity that the Valhalla BaseCamp program, offered by leading angel investor groups York Angel Investors and Valhalla Angels, provides.
In January 2019, Valhalla BaseCamp will be held exclusively for top York University startups. The three-day boot camp will shed light on the investor’s perspective of how to: effectively pitch to them, raise capital, maximize the value of the capital round and minimize risk, target and secure the right investors, close a round of financing, structure an attractive pitch and, essentially, get the deal. At the end of BaseCamp, participants will have the opportunity to apply what they have learned, pitch to a group of investors and get valuable feedback.
Only a select group of 15 ventures will be able to participate in this highly interactive program, which will include LaunchYU Accelerator Program award winners Blade Filters, Ocutherapy and RedPine Music. The remaining spots will be filled through a competitive process. Startups affiliated with Innovation York Entrepreneurship, which includes York University’s entrepreneurship program LaunchYU, IBM Innovation Space – MCC and YSpace, as well as Schulich Startups and the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, are eligible.
In the past, Innovation York startups have participated in public offerings of Valhalla BaseCamp, which have been invaluable.
“BaseCamp was an A+ experience,” said Nathan Mah, co-founder of Mero Technologies. “Tangible things I took away for our business were the equity waterfall of typical VC-backed companies, as well as defining different funding rounds from seed, Series A, B and beyond in terms of capital raising and equity given up. We were also given tips on how to make your deal the most attractive to investors, emphasizing that raising money is a long-term strategy.”
Another BaseCamp participant notes the direct impact the program has made on his startup. “Valhalla BaseCamp was one of the most educational and informative sessions I’ve attended,” said Muhammad Rashid, co-founder and CEO of Moregidge. “As a first-time entrepreneur, having insight into the mind of an angel was probably the most valuable takeaway for us, as we were right in the midst of raising our round. The program helped us understand the angel/VC landscape, the shift in the tech industry and how to best position ourselves for a raise. I’m happy to share that we successfully closed a portion of our round by immediately applying the feedback we received.”
It’s not just the program content that proved memorable for attendees. Led by Randy Thompson – Canada’s 2018 Angel of the Year, Valhalla Private Capital founder, fund manager, entrepreneur and investor – the sessions are highly customized and anecdotal. Getting the information directly from an entrepreneur turned investor, who has both presented and heard countless pitches, is a huge bonus.
“Randy Thompson was a great part of the program, as his experience as someone who has done it on both sides of the table is rare,” said Mah. “He took the time to get to know each one of us and our businesses, tailoring the sessions to get the most value for everyone participating. He never held back his honest opinions and personal anecdotes that made the sessions engaging throughout.”
Offering the BaseCamp program exclusively to York University startups will not only improve participants’ chances of receiving critical funding, but it will also enhance the community of entrepreneurs within the University ecosystem by providing them with the opportunity to collectively share their experiences.
“We’re really excited to partner with York Angels and Vallhalla Private Capital,” said Sarah Howe, director of Innovation York. “Entrepreneurship is a priority at York University, so it’s important that we provide our startups with the best opportunity for success. There are so many great startups coming out of York – the competition for this opportunity is sure to be fierce.”
To be considered for the program, Innovation York startups will need to complete an online application form. To learn more about entrepreneurship at Innovation York, visit innovationyork.ca/for-entrepreneurs.