Week 4 @ 2020 Startups


Melissa meets Vikram Chopra – mentor from Toronto!!

Vikram and I started our meeting by sharing our pitches. His feedback included:

  • Great storytelling with regards to trying to solve my own problem
  • Speak about my “targeted” audience more
  • Include more facts about: (1) high heel related injury statistics and (2) the annual cost of women shoe repairs.

Checklist and Tips

  1. Great opportunities come with luck and timing – something we cannot control
  2. Hustle/Grit/Perseverance: We move forward in our ventures, as long as we do not give up.
  3. Are you 100% vested? Investors are more willing to invest or partner with you if you are working on your venture 100%. No other day jobs allowed.
  4. Founders must invest money back into the venture.
  5. Co-Founders should have opposite skills, covering gaps and broadening team competency.
  6. Do not give away too much equity.
  7. Have strong domain knowledge of your product/service.
  8. Advisors (0.2% to 2%) on share agreement, depending on their contributing skill set.
  9. At the beginning, you will get many no’s when approaching investors. Have advisors add Angels to your board to help guide your funding structures.

This Week’s Take Away

  1. Need to focus on fundraising. It shows venture traction to investors.
    • Work with Angel investors about structuring rounds.
    • Once you secure a lead, which will be enough to encourage the second and third position investors of your company. This will help your team for future revenues.
    • Find a Business Development Company to match the first round of invested dollars – matched grants.
  1. Know your customer acquisition costs
    • Having a great product video is key to successful crowdfunding.
    • To increase our sales, I have decided to train our interns to help grow our client base with commissions as incentives.

Other Highlights

  • My intern informed me that our inner liner production is done by disabled workers re-learning new skillsets.
  • The new copy of Fashion Group International arrived at my door step recently, containing the main contacts of NYC’s fashion distributors and companies. My goal over the next few weeks is to hack this list.
  • After class this week, a complete stranger stopped me because of my black krippits. She thought I had several discounts to designer shows since I make a device that protects it.


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