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Get Mentorship from Ed Roberto – Techstars

Ed Roberto an investor and mentor at Techstars gave a mentorship session at Startup Istanbul 2015. He is specialised in emerging markets and deeply believes that the next great entrepreneurs will not come from the Silicon Valley. Read this to know more about what Techstars is looking for and Ed’s advice to entrepreneurs.

Here is what Techstars is looking for in 3 criteria:

Team: Go find a co founder or two, there is a lot of work down the road and you cannot do it alone.

Product / market fit: You’ve heard about the value of traction. Is your team trying to solve a problem in a large enough market that in 3 to 5 years you could be making $100million revenue? Let’s say half if you are in an emerging markets, are you targeting a market that can get you to $50 million dollars in less than 5 years? Do not think small. You will have to work as hard to make your 1st million and the 10 next millions. Think big now you have the opportunity to sell your product across the internet easily. Is your idea applicable globally? Ask yourself how you can solve a big problem and be a viable product.

Last but not least, if you are applying to Techstars make sure your business is attractive to a venture capital investor.

Techstars in 5 facts

They have accelerated 600 companies in their different programs.

On average, each company raised $3 millions after their programs

They are dedicated to find the venture capitalist or angel investors that can help put equity money in your business

They are the number one doing this worldwide

For their last program they had 800 applicants for 10 slots

A few of the good points Ed made during the session that entrepreneurs should follow:

Now is a fantastic time to start a business, everything is in the cloud it’s easy to go global so go for it. But have a great product market fit, your business is going to require hard work so reward yourself by taking it to the world and do this with a great team. If you are an engineer, find a fantastic business person. Complement yourself with people who have the strengths where you have weaknesses.

When you will raise funds keep in remember that family money is good because they believe in you and love you and bad because there is a huge emotional hook and it’s rarely enough. Money has a personality so pick the right personality. Talk to the people who can have an interest in your business, some investors are just not adapted to you. Knowing your financial model is a starting point. Understand how your business grow and how do you make money? Be able to answer that fast. And more generally when investors ask you a question, listen carefully and give a straightforward answer keeping it short. What is your margin, contribution margin, gross margin, net margin? What are the 3 leverages that you can pull in your business to bring the gross margin level up. Learn the financial, be honest and stretch.

It’s not because you raise a lot of money that you will succeed. You can still fail. Money is not the driving factor. And apart from your own mistakes, there are exogenous events that can affect your business. Before setting down check out the countries which have the most friendly regulation. Some are really not startup and/or business friendly.

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─ April 2, 2016