The start of success usually comes from one conversation, one pitch or one connection. Based on that initial introduction, a relationship forms and endless opportunities arise. In this case, the opportunity for funding.
On September 23rd, 2020, RIC Centre and Equation Angels collaborated to create the Equation Angels First Look event. This event aims to connect RIC Centre clients with Angel investors to hopefully build the relationship for future funding opportunities. In addition to providing a benefit to the businesses, Equation Angels First Look gives the investment community access to leading edge technology startups in the Western GTA, putting innovation on display and sparking connections.
“It is hard to replicate the chemistry of face-to-face meetings with a virtual interaction. COVID has made it harder for everyone in trying to develop the first elements of engagement,” explains Karen Grant, COO of Equation Angels.
Despite the event looking a little different this year, it was still a great success.
Funding is the Gasoline to Fuel the Fire
For any new age start up, funding can help accelerate their overall growth giving them opportunities to invest in marketing, software development, and more. While the funding aspect of Equation Angels First Look is a key component, the ability for these founders to connect with Angel Investors and learn from mentors who have already been in their shoes is monumental.
“In general, the First Look companies should be seeking mentorship and connection with the investors. These companies are very early and the investors will want to take their time, watch how the company progresses, before considering them for investment. This is a longer cycle than for investment ready companies,” explains Grant. “This is what makes the First Look event different from other events surrounding the idea of funding/investment opportunities.”
History of the First Look Event
For the past five years, this event was named Angel First Look. It has since been changed to Equation Angels First Look– a collaboration with Equation Angels, the second-largest angel investor network in Canada, and RIC Centre.
The Equation Angels First Look event is co-hosted by Equation Angels and a different Regional Innovation Centre at each meeting. In September, that was the RIC Centre. These meetings will take place 10 times a year and are intended to give the investor members a “first look” at promising, young, start-up companies that are up and coming and selected by the hosting Regional Innovation Centre. At each meeting, the companies will be given 5 minutes to present their value proposition and to answer questions. Companies are then placed in virtual meeting rooms to meet with any interested investors.
We hosted the event for 8 RIC Centre clients and 4 Angel groups (WeCAN, GTAN, Angel One, Swo Angels). The RIC Centre clients that were invited to present include: 6Ripples, Asset Flo, Zebra Robotics, AI Materia, SAFECheck, Monroe Advanced Robotics Systems, Delson Aero, and StarSpec Technologies.
Moving forward, the plan is to continue having this event with different Regional Innovation Centres co-hosting.
What Makes a Company Stand Out to Potential Investors?
Investors are looking for founders who understand their sector, their value proposition and how they can make money, and are scalable to new markets (US, Europe, etc.). Investors are looking for companies that will offer the opportunity to get a reasonable return on their investment in a reasonable period of time. The angel investment industry research suggests that the average rate of return is 2.6 times in 3.5 years.
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