The Sixth Sense cohort has been enjoying a number of fireside chats with industry experts throughout the programme so far. The latest was with serial entrepreneur, investor and lecturer, Mathieu Carenzo. 

Carenzo is on a mission to empower entrepreneurs by bringing some transparency to the early-stage fundraising process. The conversation allowed us to hear some key insights on the ‘dos and don’ts’ of fundraising, the challenges of growth and scaling, and how to be a good storyteller. 

Here are the main takeaways from the conversation:

DO generate a sense of urgency for the investor. Bringing a concept or project that is unique and innovative, and building a narrative around the monetisation of that insight, is how you foster that feeling.

DON’T be afraid to start with a strong hook. In a six-minute presentation, this will keep your audience alive for at least three minutes. 

DON’T just say that your project is ‘good’ and worthy of investment. This has low credibility, as investors are already expecting you to say this.

DO use quotes from a third-party source such as a customer, or a well-known analyst, or an expert in the field, which supports what you are pitching.

DO use quantified data that shows your value proposition is effective to your customers. This is the strongest form credibility. 

Do challenge assumptions – whether they’re positive or negative. It always equals progress. 

DO personalise the story of your business. Start with a case study and work up to the macro number; anybody can empathise with how your product or service helped one singular customer’s life.

DON’T just take the first offer that comes your way. Entrepreneurs should picture themselves as a surfer. You are waiting and waiting for a wave, and one comes along. The best surfer will know not to ride that wave and to wait because there are bigger and better ones on the way.

DO establish different roles as your company grows. The role of CEO changes and the challenge is being able to master evolving responsibilities.

DO keep focusing on funding by reviewing new opportunities every 12 to 18 months. Fundraising is a role in itself, so dedicating one co-founder to fundraising is useful.

DO foster a positive company culture. CEOs that spend time ensuring their employees understand the company’s values will see growth development. It is not just lead by example, but lead by message and mission.