L to R: Instructor George Abe & panelist, Gerard Casale, at UCLA Anderson 7/8/15
On July 8, 2015, UCLA Anderson instructor, George Abe, moderated a panel on Venture capital at UCLA Anderson with panelist Gerard Casale, Managing Director and Founder of TYLT Lab Venture Capital in Santa Monica, CA. Casale is a seasoned entrepreneur who has founded, invested in and operated many startups, and over the past 22 years, he has led and participated in over $1 billion of capital formation. Here are some tips he shared for entrepreneurs:
- Present your product or service in a robust but minimalist way. Presentation or packaging, as well as follow-up - not just the idea itself - matter.
- Be prepared. Preform your package - What do you plan on doing with your proceeds? Do you have a 5 year plan? What have your numbers looked like in the past? What’s your IP (if any)? How will you get your item to market? What’s your pricing? Who’s your target audience?
- Don’t see past failures as a disadvantage. Learned experiences from past failures have value.
- Consistently communicate. Use key metrics to show your progress.
- Be wary of opportunities you turn down, especially if you’re being offered money from sources that aren't doing anything illegal.
Casale mentioned how his company has a matrix that shows where each project is during their lifespan against where the company promised they would be at; whenever they get updates, they add notes. He also discussed how sometimes the better deals involve final decisions (e.g., “We’re closing in the last 10 days; are you in or not?") If you can tie the whole thing up so the timing is right, that’s how you’ll raise money faster.
Bottom line: Be prepared with a strong pitch on your product or service. A VC wants to know if your company is ready for prime time RIGHT NOW.