A week doesn't go by where an entrepreneur asks me out for coffee and then says... 

"I have a really great idea, can you put me in touch with some Investors?"

I take a deep breath and then ask a series of questions:

  • Do you have a business plan or lean canvas model? 
  • Have you done customer validation?
  • Do you have a MVP? (Minimum Viable Product)
  • Do you have a financial forecast? 
  • Do you have customers?

Surprisingly, the answer to most of those questions are NO.

Starting a company can certainly be overwhelming.  The first step is not asking for money, you need to prove out your idea first, and you can do this by attending Preflight.

Now for the money part. 

When starting a company you may look for capital from sources including friends, parents, grandparents, Uncle Bob, or the 'rich' neighbor next door. You may also try to take out a bank loan... and get denied. 

From this frustration a typical question often arises:

"Wouldn't it be great if I could find someone outside my circle of friends to invest in my company?"

Luckily, there is, it's an angel investor.

According to an article from www.entrepreneur.com, angel investors are looking for startups that:

  • Exhibit high-growth prospects, have a synergy with their own business or compete in an industry in which they have succeeded.

  • Need additional funding to execute a marketing program.

  • Have increasing product or service sales and need additional capital to bridge the gap between the sale and the receipt of funds from the customer.

VA Angels is one of Canada's leading angel investment groups and recently received "Investor of the Year" from the Startup Canada Awards.  VA Angels have chapters located in Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Winnipeg & Scottsdale. 

VA Angels Fast Facts: 

  • Presenting entrepreneurs have a 1 in 4 chance of raising capital
  • Of the over 300 companies which have pitched to VA Angels over the past eleven years, an impressive 62% are still operating today.
  • Compare this to recent studies that show only 35% of start-ups survive until age ten and only 37% of information technology start-ups survive past four years.
  • VA Angels’ geographically agnostic mandate provides a great platform for any entrepreneurs doing an angel roadshow. 

If  you want a chance to meet with, learn from and pitch to investors at the end of the workshop, you need to register for BaseCamp, it is facilitated by VA Angels CEO Randy Thompson.  

This 2.5 day workshop teaches entrepreneurs about investments getting them to "think like an investor." It will improve your knowledge on raising capital and equip you with the knowledge and confidence you need to pitch in front of a live-audience of angel investors.

BaseCamp made a significant difference in how I communicate about my company to investors. Previous to taking the program, I was stuck in the weeds around what the business value of the technology that I had developed.

Thanks to Randy and the amazing group of companies that were assembled, I was able to hone my message and get clear, critical feedback on what my company’s value is.
— Gena Rotstein, Founder & CEO of Dexterity Ventures Inc. & Place2Give