Entrepreneurs commonly grapple with a shared challenge: securing funding to elevate their projects to the next level and bring a minimum viable product or prototype to life.
This financing hurdle takes center stage at the IFE Conference 2024, unfolding from January 23 to 25 at Tec de Monterrey’s Campus Monterrey. Investors and educational technology entrepreneurs gathered to explore strategies for accessing more resources.
The lack of funding is not merely an obstacle but also an opportunity to find allies in bringing innovative ideas to the market.
Maia Sharpley, the founder and managing partner of Odonata Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in technology-driven revolutionary educational companies, revealed that funding across almost all markets dropped by 30%, with technology for education witnessing a staggering 67% decrease from 2022 to 2023.
So, how does one secure investment? What approaches attract those willing to contribute financially to an idea?
Challenges and Opportunities in Attracting Investment
The conference’s Silicon Valley Ecosystem Experiences panel featured insights from Renée Rosillo, Prism Fellow’s co-founder and CEO; Esteban Sosnik, managing partner at Reach Capital; and Ricardo Cevada, co-founder and CEO of Skills For Industry.
These experts, accustomed to the high-stakes investment landscape of Silicon Valley, home to approximately 2,000 technology companies, discussed challenges and opportunities in attracting investment.
They unanimously stressed the necessity of a profound understanding of the entrepreneurial business model, covering metrics, vision, and overall brand image.
Sosnik emphasized, “studying the portfolio you’re approaching is crucial. It’s not the same as dealing with investors who’ve been burned or haven’t invested. That’s when you start to notice the lenses through which they view you.”
Mastering business terms and concepts becomes imperative for seamless communication with investors, allowing entrepreneurs to share their stories and objectives compellingly. The panelists highlighted the importance of comprehending the business model, understanding the market, and fostering transparent connections with investors.
Regions like Silicon Valley and conferences dedicated to entrepreneurship, innovation, research, and business acceleration provide tools and spaces for building support networks. They also offer opportunities to enrich ideas through diversity and representation.
A major challenge in the quest for investment lies in maintaining a clear vision and avoiding veering towards solutions primarily geared at attracting funds rather than building a scalable business that addresses a real problem. Cevada concluded, “A danger when delivering numerous pitches is losing sight of your vision. You must have a well-defined path, create something investable, and build a scalable and replicable business. You’ll face many strikeouts, but clarity on your direction is paramount.”