To help educate young startups on fundraising strategies, the Atlanta Technology Angels and the Advanced Technology Development Center have joined forces to launch a new ATA/ATDC Entrepreneur Finance Series. Developed by Michel Horten, director of “ATA University” (ATA’s education arm), the comprehensive course encompasses four sessions and will be hosted by ATDC as part of its new Lunch and Learn Educational Series, which takes a more strategic approach to brown bags by focusing on coaching.
As a member of the Atlanta Technology Angels, Horten knows a thing or two about the proper way to court an investor. Over the years, he has been on the receiving end of numerous fundraising pitches from young startups. In many of those cases, a lack of entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of the current early-stage capital market sank even the most attractive investment opportunities.
“Companies generally require one or several rounds of financings in order to succeed. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs fail in this endeavor, not because their company is not fundable, but because they’re approaching it in the wrong way,” said Horten, a local attorney. “For example, if I’m interested in an opportunity, the first thing I want to know is what I’ll get for my money. Half of the entrepreneurs can’t answer that question.”
Each of the four sessions is designed to be highly interactive, with tips on all of the finance, legal and tax issues that an entrepreneur will need to know to launch a successful capital raise. Topics include the angel financing process, pre-financing requirements, today’s deal terms and securities law compliance.
“The whole purpose of this program is to give young entrepreneurs the A to Z summary of how they should go about raising money,” said Horten. “You don’t really have a second opportunity to pitch the same angel, so this course could help improve a startup’s chances of walking away from a meeting with a check in hand.”
Registration is now open for the free series, which begins Sept. 22. Each session will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Hodges Room on the third floor of ATDC’s headquarters. Based on member interest and turnout, the program could be repeated in the future.
Participants who complete the first two sessions will also receive an invitation to attend a Nov. 10 seminar the Angel Capital Education Foundation is presenting to ATA members and other local angels. The half-day presentation will provide a detailed look at the various methodologies used to value early-stage companies and will give attending entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with local angel investors.