Why community and capital go hand-in-hand

Every founder can probably tell you how they raised their first round, as it’s no easy feat. The sweat equity in turning an idea into a viable business requires navigating through what can seem like challenging and complicated options, from love money, angel investors, non–dilutive funding to everything in-between.

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Whether you just came up with an idea or are an experienced founder, it’s never too early – or too late – to educate yourself about startup funding options. “Learn as much as you can about the various sources and structures of capital that could be right for your business by leveraging the knowledge and expertise in incubators, accelerators and entrepreneurship programs.” says local funder Andrea Drager, Vice President at Azure Capital Partners. “Then you can build your networks and relationships to be able to access that capital.”

Those resources and sources of capital are plenty in Calgary, but the investor community can seem much more elusive. Not knowing how to access investors is a common challenge for startups – and many don’t realize that it can’t be done from behind a desk. That’s where Startup Calgary can help.

On April 10, Startup Calgary and Alberta Enterprise are hosting an interactive panel discussion where entrepreneurs will learn how to connect with investors and raise their first round, straight from the source.

Knowing how to make and nurture the right connections is critical to raising capital. It’s all about relationship-building. And while Calgary is known for its supportive entrepreneurship community, it takes more than a high-five to keep the momentum going between founders and investors. It starts with building trust.

"Trust is what all businesses revolve around, especially when dealing with investors,” says Andrew Chau, Co-Founder of SkipTheDishes. “There were many occasions where investors had never heard of SkipTheDishes before. We had to build trust from the ground up, and we did that by proving our traction every time we met and associating ourselves with people/places they were already familiar with."

Andrew Chau will moderate the panel of four seasoned funders from Azure Capital, BDC Capital, McRock Capital and Contract Capital, sharing what makes a tech company attractive to potential investors. For local funders who are on the periphery of the tech startup scene, this is a great opportunity to find out why there is no better time or place to invest in tech.

“We are seeing good growth in ground-breaking startups, with global reach, in the pre-Series A segment of deal flow,” says Kenya Kondo, Director of Industry Development at the venture capital fund of funds, Alberta Enterprise Corporation. Alberta Enterprise has invested in 12 Calgary based VC funds including Azure Capital and most recently, Panache Ventures. In partnership with the Venture Capital Association of Alberta and the A100, they recently built StartAlberta.com, an online platform for Alberta tech startups to connect with investors. “Calgary has a vibrant tech ecosystem. The willingness to build relationships and support startups is an advantage to founders here.”

Learn how to navigate the community to raise your first round. Join Startup Calgary on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at Vertigo Theatre. Get tickets now!