January Lunch ‘n Learn with Karen Grant

There’s no better person than Karen Grant to give startups pointers on how to approach an angel investor. Not only is she the founder and Executive Director of the distinguished Angel One Investor Network, she’s an angel investor herself and knows exactly what it’s like to be pitched for investment.

We were lucky to have Karen come in to deliver a much-anticipated talk on what exactly angel investors are looking for at our Lunch ‘n Learn on January 20. Karen’s appearance garnered a full house and we were not surprised – she delivered exceptional, frank advice to our crowd.

IMG_1423Karen began by going over the real-world startup statistics in Canada that include 30% of small businesses not surviving past two years and 60,000 out of 80,000 annual new companies going under in a given year. Her candid intro set the stage for the core message of her presentation: practice due diligence and buckle down in order to beat the odds. She made sure to note that startups must be realistic and direct in their goals, clearly setting out how much they’d like to grow in 24 months, who they intend to serve, and how they are going to compete – because there will be competition.

She then spoke to the perspective of the angel investor. Angel One receives an average of 300 applications per year, so who stands out from the crowd? Karen stated its no secret that investors want to make money; their primary motivation is to have their investment returned and then some, so companies with high growth potential and diversification are ideal. She also noted that customer validation is key, and though she’s invested in pre-revenue companies, sales definitely set a startup apart.

Karen’s presentation also covered the key components of a pitch, scaling your venture, financials, and the structure of an investment deal. You can view her full slide deck here and photos from the event here.

At each month’s Lunch ‘n Learn we also feature an up-and-coming iF client to share a 5-minute highlight of their business. This month’s Factory 5 was Douglas Pearson of RotaNovus, who are designing a fresh take on elderly mobility devices, or “Rollators”.

Thank to both Karen and Douglas for sharing your stories with us!

Our Lunch ‘n Learn events are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a free lunch and learning something new! Make sure to keep checking our event calendar for upcoming Lunch ‘n Learns and other events in the ecosystem.

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