"A key ingredient for an important fundraise? Customers gain!" Access to Finance tips by Daniel Michel

Daniel Michel, Head of Access to Finance of EIT Digital Accelerator

Daniel Michel, Head of Access to Finance of EIT Digital Accelerator

Daniel Michel, Head of Access to Finance of EIT Digital Accelerator explains the value of using a European accelerator and gives methodological advice to scaleups willing to take a step further in their development:

What are the main challenges of tech scaleups if it comes to financing (and how can they overcome the challenges)?

In order to be successful in a fundraising, the CEO of a digital company has to focus on three topics. First and most importantly he/she has to continue to deliver sales growth. Indeed, customer traction is one of the most important ingredients of a great fundraising, and it would be a mistake to dedicate too much time on the fundraising and forget to develop its company. Second, the CEO, or the co-founders, have to prepare their fundraising. It is a very different sport to sell a product/service to a customer, and to sell a company and an investment case to a financial investors. CEOs have to learn how to present the business potential of their company, the attractively of their business model, and the relevance of their offering with the market need. Like for any sales person, the saying ‘practice makes perfect' does apply here. Thirdly, companies have to select and focus on the right investors for them. There are many investors, not only financial venture capital firms, but also corporate venture funds, family office or national funds that can be addressed, and they usually all have a different focus. A random approach is usually not the most fruitful approach, hence it helps to do some homework to understand their interlocutors.

International financing rounds - why is it useful and where are the hurdles?

Bringing international investors into your shareholder structure offers several key advantages; the most visible advantage is that it helps your company access foreign markets, as these investors usually have some business contacts in their geography. Also, international investors accelerate your company's internationalisation, giving a clear signal to potential customers, employees, future investors or ultimately acquirers. Last but not least, international investors will give a completely new insight to your team, bring diversity and enhance the business creativity required to scale your company across different countries.

How does the EIT Digital Accelerator Access to Finance program help?

Our Access to Finance program has been engineered to help CEOs complete successful financing rounds. EIT Digital has unrivaled expertise in the vertical we cover in the digital space: digital infrastructure, digital cities, digital finance, digital industries and digital wellbeing. Hence our team has a superior understanding of the investors interested by these sub-sectors. Another key strength of our team, is that we are based in eight of the largest European countries, we have an office in San Francisco, and thus we have a very good visibility of the investors landscape in Europe and the US. Last but not least, the Access to Finance program is integrated into a fully fledge acceleration program, tailored at bringing successful companies to other markets. This part of our program makes also a difference, as we help companies break boundaries.

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