We’ve had great feedback on Seekology’s webinar on Monday for #internationalwomensday on early stage funding for beauty brands, featuring Claire Cherry from True, Tom March from Redrice Ventures and Aaron Chatterley, angel investor and co-founder of Feelunique.
Here are some key takeaways from our lively discussion that brands found particularly valuable:
- Tom said he loves to see founders that have managed to do a lot with a little, since this is a clear guide as to whether entrepreneurs can think creatively and overcome problems. Claire agreed, and shared that businesses exhibiting strong growth through word of mouth are often the most exciting; this demonstrates there’s a great product and also avoids startups having to invest significant amounts of money into paid advertising.
- As a founder, you’re interviewing an investor as much as they are interviewing you – so consider whether the person you’re meeting is someone you want to work alongside for several years. Each member of the panel talked about time horizons of 5-7 years as typical when investing in early stage brands.
- Claire said she loves to see founders that have grit when times get tough. In fact, if they have persevered with a tricky funding round and eventually raised money, that’s actually a plus point. She explained that if things have always gone well for an entrepreneur, they might not have the resilience it takes when times get harder (e.g. when there’s a year-long pandemic, for example!).
- We debated whether venture-type investment is right for all businesses, and some of the pitfalls associated with taking on external funding. Aaron’s view on when to take investment was not to take money if you don’t need it, and to be particularly careful not to give up part of your company too easily – a small % of ownership now might not feel like much, but it could represent a large amount of money that you’ve left on the table if your business is really successful.
- Particularly relevant on International Women’s Day, the panel noted that the vast majority of investors are still men – and this is likely contributing to the lower rates of funding for female founders overall, although Claire reminded us that this is changing. On an encouraging note, all three of our investors have a significant proportion of their portfolios in female-led businesses and are open to approaches from brands that are post-revenue with demonstrated traction; the famous “warm intro” seems less imperative than it once was.
It was a fantastic session, and we’ve been getting great feedback from brands since.
Diane from Bowe Organics says “I wanted to say thank you so much for organising the seminar yesterday. I learnt so much from Tom Aaron and Claire, I am so appreciative of them and their time. Hopefully moving forward it will help me expand in the future. Thank you again for taking the time to organise that - it’s really helped me out - and hope you had a great #internationalwomensday.”