Five Steps to Achieving the Milestones that Lead to Investment CapitalCapital Access — By Tom Walker on July 2, 2014 at 8:00 am
If you are an entrepreneur looking to raise capital, the best advice I have is to call TechColumbus and ask how we can help.
Last year 400 companies made inquiries. From those initial contacts, we added 56 new companies to our portfolio, bringing the total number of companies actively accessing venture services and/or investment resources to more than 160.
One of those 160 companies is EduSourced, a firm that delivers an innovative, cloud-based service that provides comprehensive tools to help universities, colleges and high schools efficiently and effectively manage experiential learning programs.
CEO and serial entrepreneur David Comisford has used the resources and initiatives available through TechColumbus to help launch his company.
1. EduSourced participated in the 10X Startup Accelerator. We are fortunate in this region that there are multiple incubator and accelerator opportunities. TechColumbus collaborates with 10X, The DEC, Inc@8000 and others, as well as providing SpringBox Labs, our own in-house accelerator.
“10X opened me up to the idea of talking to the market and got me moving in a direction,” Comisford said. “That’s how I zigzagged my way from our original concept to EduSourced, a scalable business that solves a big problem for our customers.”
2. EduSourced engaged TechColumbus’ venture advisory team to develop a plan to move from concept, to prototype, to beta customers.
“Being engaged with TC added some credibility to our efforts,” Comisford said. ”They have a rigorous vetting process and going through that helped establish EduSourced as a serious startup. They made introductions for us. They are a hub. They are involved with so many entrepreneurs at all different stages that they can really help connect the dots.”
“I learned to recognize what I didn’t know,” he said. “I connected with people who had been there before, entrepreneurs who went through the struggles and eventually had successful exits. I learned to listen to them.”
3. EduSourced worked with Expert Network partner Bricker & Eckler to create corporate documents and shareholder agreements.
“We received pro bono legal services which allowed us to launch our business and prepare for investment,” Comisford said. “When you start accepting capital from angel investors, you want to be engaged with a good attorney who understands how to deal with startups and equity investors. Bricker & Eckler helped with all of that. We continue to use their fee services.”
4. EduSourced has become a SpringBox Labs resident.
“This is an exciting environment. TechColumbus has a great staff that isn’t afraid to jump in and help,” Comisford said. “Our advisor works right down the hall, joining sales calls and mentoring. That’s where TechColumbus adds great value.”
5. EduSourced raised $270,000 in proof of concept investment. TechColumbus led the round with investment of $100,000 with Founders Factory and angel investors also participating.
EduSourced signed its first customer before the round closed—the kind of milestone achievement that makes early stage investors willing to write checks.
TechColumbus assisted companies generated more than $100 million in 2013. In that same year, TechColumbus portfolio companies raised $64 million in funding, with 17 companies raising $1 million or more. Sixty percent of all venture deals in the Columbus region went to our portfolio firms.
For these types of investments to occur, a region must have fundable companies and sources of risk capital.
TechColumbus helps develop both.
Tom Walker has been a leader in entrepreneurship and turning innovation-based discoveries into commercial opportunities for more than twenty years. As President and CEO of TechColumbus, Inc., Tom applies his experience as a seasoned founder and manager of venture funds and entrepreneurial initiatives to accelerate Central Ohio’s innovation economy. Tom organized his first angel investment group and seed fund in the late nineties and has been involved with angel, seed and early stage investing ever since. He’s advised numerous states and the Southeast of England on the creation of high impact entrepreneurial ventures. He is the author of The Entrepreneur’s Handbook, an easy-to-understand step-by-step guide to commercialization for entrepreneurs with big ideas.
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