Milestones to Reach for before Raising Venture Capital, if You Need Venture Capital at All

by Viki Forrest, CEO ANZA Technology Network

I’ve just returned from running our annual Gateway to the US Focus Workshops in Australia. I saw some good, first-rate companies that are ready to explore their potential in the US market. We’ll be talking more about them as they prepare to attend our Summit next month, but right now, as they start to work with their coaches in preparation for their US trip, I’m reminded how much their focus tends to be toward raising venture capital at this stage in their planning. Every year, our US-based coaches must work with the CEOs of these companies to deflect the idea that coming to the US is only about getting funded.

I was reminded about this in a Venture Beat story I saw the other day, “5 Milestones to Reach before Raising Venture Capital” – these are:

  1. When you don’t need the money
  2. When you have a product
  3. When you know your customer better than anyone
  4. When you have traction
  5. When you know what you’re getting yourself into

This is all great advice that you can read here. But I’d like to add a #6 to this list – not every company needs venture capital. Depending on which VC you talk to, in which country, about 1 in 1,000 pitches to VCs get funded. That’s 0.1%!

What does that mean? The vast majority of successful companies are built on customer sales. This is the major focus of ANZA’s programs.

But guess what? An analysis of companies that have come through the ANZA TechNet Fast Track program (the next step after the Gateway) reveals that 3% of those companies have been funded to date. That’s a track record we’re extremely proud of. Why have those companies gotten funded? Because they have worked in the Fast Track program to focus on getting customer sales!

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