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Oct 4, 2018

 Learn how to take your business to the next level and gain outside funding to do it with insights from Ashok Kamal, Executive Director of Tech Coast Angels.

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Show Notes

  • Tech Coast Angels (TCA) looks for the best companies to invest money in.
  • An ‘Accredited Investor’ is a high-net worth individual who invests in startups with an understanding of the risk.
    • SEC Definition: Someone who is sophisticated enough to invest in private companies. To be an accredited investors, individuals must demonstrate an annual income of $200,000, or $300,000 for joint income, for the last two years with expectation of earning the same or higher income.
  • Since joining, TCA has funded 40-50 companies plus additional rounds.
  • Typical financing ranges from $.5 million to $1.5 million per round.
  • How the Funding Process works for Entrepreneurs at TCA:
    • Online Application with Pitch deck, Executive summary, Business info, etc.
    • Matched with a TCA member who is familiar with the industry to evaluate.
    • Exploratory meeting, conference call or committee screening.
    • Formal Presentation looking at the business / market opportunity.
    • Due Diligence looking under the hood (30-day process).
    • Investment is made and a deal is signed.
  • Target your investors, know your audience and understand their thesis.
  • Be prepared! Have your materials and documents ready and on-hand (cap table, financial projections, patents, etc).
  • Don’t add time to your deal! Time kills deals.
  • Be trustworthy. Investors don’t want to partner with someone they don’t trust.
  • Have a clear and concise story about your business.
  • Don’t make it hard for investors to help you! Be prepared and make it easy for them.
  • As an entrepreneur, you want to be in a position to tell the best story possible.
  • Good story starter lines include: users, revenue, and other funding efforts (FOMO).
  • Adam: Angel investors look for companies they can help grow and lend their expertise to.
  • Generating Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) and a history of growth is a good starting point for starting to find investors.
  • Adam: Bring user acquisition metrics, how you got them, traffic sources, plan to scale, etc.
  • Know your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and Lifetime Value (LTV).
  • Due Diligence: Technical Fundamentals, Trust and Relationship Building.
  • Adam: Transparency is crucial. Admit when you don’t have an answer.
  • Be open to questions and feedback during the due diligence process.
  • VCs look at conversion rates, traffic, retention, cohorts, revenue, CAC, LTV.
  • Corporate stuff like compensation, cap table, previous funding, financials, and strategy.
  • Idiosyncratic variables, market variables and hard numbers help determine business valuation.
  • For early-stage companies, investors often look at comparable companies.
  • It’s not a success to raise money. Making money is how you get success.
  • Adam: Ask for help and advice when you need it!
  • Prove you are coach-able by following through with the advice you get.

Example Pitch Decks

Sequoia Capital, How To Pitch Article - 
SlideBean, Sequoia Capital Pitch Deck - 
Buffer, The Slide Deck We Used To Raise Half A Million Dollars - 
SlideShare, Buffer Seed Round Pitch Deck - 

About Tech Coast Angels

Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the largest and most active networks of angel investors in the US comprising 5 chapters and over 300 members located across Southern California. Founded in 1997, TCA identifies, mentors and funds early stage companies to help get their ideas to market, and where TCA members devote their time, expertise and capital to help companies grow and succeed.

TCA members not only invest but frequently serve on boards and assist companies with relationships, strategy, supply chain, team building and additional fundraising. Tech Coast Angels has an outstanding deal flow of opportunities and a simplified yet organized process for screening and completing due diligence.


About Ashok Kamal 

Ashok Kamal is a social entrepreneur and angel investor based in California. With diverse experience starting, leading and investing in organizations in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, Ashok believe that entrepreneurship is the foundation for reframing problems as opportunities, unlocking solutions and unleashing human potential. He has also spoken and presented at events like South By Southwest (SXSW), Sustainable Brands, GreenBiz Forum, LAUNCH Festival and the White House's Sustainable Symposium as well as contributed numerous articles to publications like VentureBeat, Forbes and Fast Company.


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